FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas - In the parking lot of Skeeters’ stadium, dozens of Drug Enforcement agents gathered in preparation for what is likely the largest narcotics seizure ever recorded in Fort Bend County.
The target - Woodfield Pharma, also known as WDSrx, is a wholesale manufacturer and distributor of pharmaceutical drugs, including highly regulated opiates.
"We are taking custody of product that has a high likelihood of diversion and we are going to safely secure it in another location," said Erik Smith, Associate Special Agent in Charge with the Drug Enforcement Administration's Houston Division.
"Diversion" as in the re-routing of highly addictive, highly dangerous opiates into the black market for illegal sale.
According to Smith, a Drug Enforcement Administration audit indicates tens of millions of doses delivered to this facility over the past three years are unaccounted for and represent a clear and present threat to public safety.
"This is really the foundation of the opioid crisis in the United States," said Smith.
The DEA seizure would prove massive. 27 tractor-trailer loads of opiates which could have ended up on America's streets.
According to the DEA, Woodfield cannot account for huge quantities of pharmaceutical-grade amphetamines and opiates like Phenobarbital, Codeine, and Tramadol.
"In an illicit market Tramadol is used as a foundation for pills that are laced with Fentanyl, pressed and sold on the streets as counterfeit Oxycodone," said Smith.
"We see these pills ending up on college campuses cramming for an exam thinking it's Adderall or some other type of substance and they take it and they die," said Tony Hubbard, Associate Special Agent in Charge with the DEA's Houston Division.
Prior to this civil seizure, DEA uncovered evidence of large, suspicious, duplicate orders, filled on a monthly, sometimes weekly basis and lax security at the Sugar Land facility including cameras that fail to function.
Special Agent Hubbard fears much of the inventory Woodfield can’t account for has been siphoned off and diverted into an illicit 21st Century marketplace that's produced the highest number of deadly overdoses in U.S. history.
"Drug dealers now look differently than they did when I first started my career," said Hubbard. "They are not always on the corners or in back alleys. They are selling stuff on the internet. They are selling stuff at college campuses, high school campuses."
"What we are dealing with today is where we cross that line, that threshold from legitimate medical practice to illicit use that only fuels addiction and death," said Smith.
Woodfield released the following statement to FOX 26 Houston:
"Woodfield Distribution, LLC has been and continues to maintain active discussions with the DEA to address areas of concern related to governance and oversight of business operations. The alleged violations are being taken seriously by Woodfield Distribution, LLC and every effort and attention is being made to resolve this situation in a timely and efficient manner for our clients in the near term."
While no criminal charges have been filed that could change as the investigation continues.