Fentanyl deaths from 'Mexican oxy' pills hit Arizona hard

Seanna Leilani Chavez, the sister of Aaron Francisco Chavez, pauses as she looks at family photos as she stands next to a shrine for Aaron, including

Seanna Leilani Chavez, the sister of Aaron Francisco Chavez, pauses as she looks at family photos as she stands next to a shrine for Aaron, including

This undated photo provided by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's Phoenix Division shows a closeup of the fentanyl-laced sky blue pills known

This undated photo provided by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's Phoenix Division shows a closeup of the fentanyl-laced sky blue pills known

Doug Coleman, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration special agent in charge of Arizona, talks about the fentanyl epidemic during an interview at DE

Doug Coleman, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration special agent in charge of Arizona, talks about the fentanyl epidemic during an interview at DE

Athena Chavez, 2, the daughter of Aaron Francisco Chavez, looks out a nearby door as she stands next to a shrine for Aaron at the family home Wednesda

Athena Chavez, 2, the daughter of Aaron Francisco Chavez, looks out a nearby door as she stands next to a shrine for Aaron at the family home Wednesda

Seanna Leilani Chavez, left, smiles as she spends time with Athena Chavez, 2, the sister and daughter of Aaron Francisco Chavez respectively, at a shr

Seanna Leilani Chavez, left, smiles as she spends time with Athena Chavez, 2, the sister and daughter of Aaron Francisco Chavez respectively, at a shr

Doug Coleman, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration special agent in charge of Arizona, talks about the fentanyl epidemic during an interview at DE

Doug Coleman, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration special agent in charge of Arizona, talks about the fentanyl epidemic during an interview at DE

Seanna Leilani Chavez, the sister of Aaron Francisco Chavez, speaks with frustration as she stands next to a shrine for Aaron at the family home Wedne

Seanna Leilani Chavez, the sister of Aaron Francisco Chavez, speaks with frustration as she stands next to a shrine for Aaron at the family home Wedne

This photo provided by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's Phoenix Division shows some of the 30,000 fentanyl pills the agency seized in one of

This photo provided by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's Phoenix Division shows some of the 30,000 fentanyl pills the agency seized in one of

Seanna Leilani Chavez, left, holds Athena Chavez, 2, the sister and daughter of Aaron Francisco Chavez respectively, as the two stand next to a shrine

Seanna Leilani Chavez, left, holds Athena Chavez, 2, the sister and daughter of Aaron Francisco Chavez respectively, as the two stand next to a shrine

This undated photo by Seanna Leilani shows her brother, Aaron Francisco Chavez. Chavez, 19, died after he swallowed sky blue fentanyl pills designed t

This undated photo by Seanna Leilani shows her brother, Aaron Francisco Chavez. Chavez, 19, died after he swallowed sky blue fentanyl pills designed t

Jocelyn Sanchez, 21, of Tucson, Ariz., is seen in this November, 2018 booking photo provided by the Pima County Sheriff's Office. Sanchez has been cha

Jocelyn Sanchez, 21, of Tucson, Ariz., is seen in this November, 2018 booking photo provided by the Pima County Sheriff's Office. Sanchez has been cha

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Illicit fentanyl smuggled from Mexico into the Southwest has become a profitable new business for drug gangs, helping push the synthetic opioid to the top spot for fatal U.S. overdoses.

Fentanyl powder and sky blue pills known as "Mexican oxy" are being distributed around the U.S. as the drug surpasses heroin for overdose deaths.

But some stays behind in Arizona and other southwestern states, making the region bordering Mexico a hot spot in the nation's fentanyl crisis and affecting all demographic groups.

Among those killed by the fentanyl pills was Aaron Francisco Chavez, a 19-year-old from Tucson who was a prep cook and dreamed of become a chef to support his young daughter.

He died after taking at least one pill at a Halloween party.