BOSTON (WWLP) – Authorities arrested more than 600 people and seized thousands of drugs, guns, and over $1 million in cash following a two-week operation into drug overdoses in the New England area, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced on Tuesday. 

In a news release to 22News, DEA New England Field Division said agents made 645 arrests and seized 17.9 kilograms of fentanyl, 7,800 illicit fentanyl pills, 13.9 kilograms of cocaine, 3.1 kilograms of heroin, 2.5 kilograms of methamphetamine, and 38.1 kilograms of marijuana. 

Fifty-one firearms were also seized along with $1.2 million in cash. 

DEA Special Agent in Charge, Brian Boyle stated: 

“DEA’s top priority is to aggressively pursue anyone who distributes these deadly drugs,” said SAC Boyle.  “Those arrested need to be held accountable for their actions because they have chosen to distribute this poison and profit from the misery they spread.” 

The administration cited that with drug overdoses being the leading cause of injury-related deaths in the U.S., they see the impact it has in New England neighborhoods. 

“Illegal drug distribution ravages the very foundations of our families and communities,” said SAC Boyle.  “Every time we take fentanyl off the streets, we save lives.  These enforcement actions demonstrate the strength of collaborative local, state and federal law enforcement efforts in New England.” 

Fentanyl remains the deadliest drug in the U.S. The CDC reports 39 percent of all drug overdose deaths were from fentanyl in 2017, which is a one percent increase from 2016. The names of those who were arrested have not been released.

Local, state, and federal law enforcement departments assisted with the two-week operation. The Chicopee Police Department has a member on that task force.

Chicopee Police Officer Mike Wilk told 22News what goes into an operation like this.

“A lot of manpower. A lot of hours of work, hard dedicated work. These agencies task force people they work hard. they are dedicated to it, they have a mission. They want to get this junk off the streets, they want to save lives and that’s what they are doing.”

-Chicopee Police Officer Mike Wilk