▶ Watch Video: ICE agents uncover possible fentanyl chemicals in Arizona raid

Tucson, Arizona — Before dawn on Thursday, Homeland Security agents huddled to brief on a raid in a quiet residential neighborhood in Tucson, Arizona. 

The target was a house where suspects possibly tied to fentanyl distribution allegedly operate.

“We’re looking for potential precursor chemicals,” said Christian Webster, assistant special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). 

The operation, involving multiple law enforcement agencies, was looking for precursor chemicals used to make fentanyl, a drug about 50 times stronger than heroin. 

Agents confiscated more than 100 pounds of precursor chemicals from the Tucson home, with some of those chemicals coming from China

Mexican drug cartels ensure that the elements that go into making fentanyl are shipped separately, making it hard to stop the distribution. 

“There’s so many different ways that it can be smuggled in the United States,” said Leo Lamas, special agent in charge of HSI. “It’s coming in through 18-wheelers. It’s coming in through passenger vehicles. It’s coming in through people walking across the border. It’s being backpacked into the country.”

Last year, the Drug Enforcement Administration seized more than 50 million fentanyl-laced pills, and over 100,000 pounds of fentanyl powder, in the U.S. — enough to kill every American. 

Misty Little’s 26-year-old daughter was among those who died from fentanyl, not knowing she swallowed a pill laced with the drug. 

“I want people to know that Cheyenne was a vibrant young woman that had her whole entire future ahead of her,” Little said. “That one bad decision she shouldn’t have lost her life over.”