NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has made two cartels a top priority. The DEA says the Sinaloa and Jalisco Cartels are behind the majority of fentanyl and methamphetamines killing Americans.

Now, the agency has wrapped up a year-long operation called “Operation Last Mile.” The results of that program not only led to over 3,000 arrests, but also reveal how TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are a key part of cartel drug distribution.

“The Sinaloa and Jalisco Cartels use multi-city distribution networks, violent local street gangs, and individual dealers across the United States to flood American communities with fentanyl and methamphetamine, drive addiction, fuel violence, and kill Americans,” said DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said in a press release. “What is also alarming—American social media platforms are the means by which they do so.  The Cartels use social media and encrypted platforms to run their operations and reach out to victims, and when their product kills Americans, they simply move on to try to victimize the millions of other Americans who are social media users.”

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Stats from Operation Last Mile show seizures made in New Mexico and Texas | Courtesy U.S. DEA

Operation Last Mile was a nationwide effort to crack down on the cartels. Near New Mexico, the DEA’s El Paso Division arrested 235 individuals and seized nearly 2 million fentanyl pills. El Paso agents also seized cartel-related assets worth more than $4 million and collected 278 firearms, the DEA says.

Across the nation, the DEA operation collected almost 44 million fentanyl pills and more than 8,000 firearms. More than 1,000 cases the DEA investigated involve social media-type messaging and platforms to help distribute drugs, the law enforcement agency says.