The amount of fentanyl seized while coming through the southern border during the first 5 months of fiscal year 2021 is already higher than all of fiscal year 2020, according to the latest statistics from Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
CBP has seized more than 5,000 pounds of fentanyl since Oct. 1, 2020, said acting CBP Commissioner Troy Miller during a March 10 media call.
“We are seeing a dramatic increase in fentanyl seizures this fiscal year, more than 360 percent higher than this time last year,” Miller said.
“Nationwide drug seizures increased 50 percent in February from January. Cocaine interceptions increased 13 percent, seizures of methamphetamine increased 40 percent, seizures of heroin went up 48 percent.”
Fentanyl is the synthetic opioid attributed to the escalating overdose death rate in the United States. It is most often manufactured in Mexico using chemicals supplied by China. It’s mixed with other narcotics to increase potency as well as pressed into counterfeit pain pills commonly known as “Mexican oxys.”
“The cartels are dominating the distribution of this poison and it’s really, really alarming,” Derek Maltz, former head of the DEA’s special operations division, told The Epoch Times.
“I do anticipate the crisis continuing on this escalating path. And to be honest with you, it’s really sad, because I’ve been communicating with a lot of parents who have lost their young kids, especially to the counterfeit pills. And it’s all coming from Mexico.”
Overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids (other than methadone) between 2005 and 2018. (DEA 2021 report)
The Rio Grande City Border Patrol station takes care of a 68-mile strip of international border in south Texas. It sits within the Rio Grande Valley Sector and in 2019 was the busiest of the nation’s 135 stations for drug seizures and the second busiest for illegal alien apprehensions.
Then-deputy chief Border Patrol agent for the Rio Grande Valley sector Raul Ortiz, said in March 2019 “we’re not even probably catching about 10 percent of it [drugs].”
Border experts have said it’s likely Border Patrol drug seizures will decrease as illegal immigration surges—agents will be tied up with large groups of people rather than interdicting drugs. Border Patrol highway checkpoints are also closing in many areas as agents are sent to the border to help with processing the increased numbers.
The Biden administration has said there’s no crisis on the border and urges potential migrants not to come in illegally. But the latest illegal crossing numbers show that February hit a 14-month high with more than 100,000 Border Patrol apprehensions.
Mexico’s president has expressed concern that President Joe Biden’s policies are encouraging illegal immigration and human trafficking along the border with the United States.
“They see him as the migrant president, and so many feel they’re going to reach the United States,” Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said of Biden the morning after a virtual meeting with his U.S. counterpart on March 1, according to Reuters.
Maltz said, “perception is reality. People around the world look at Biden as a softie on immigration.”
“The open border is a disaster. It just increases the [cartels’] ability to move drugs freely into America,” he said.
“Also, most importantly, it allows them to get their command and control operatives in the [United States] to establish the stash houses, the distribution outlets, the money collection points, so they have lots of people in America who are able to operate freely around the country.”
Areas of influence of major Mexican cartel within the United States. (DEA report 2021)
The cartels control the south side of the U.S.–Mexico border and anyone who crosses illegally has to pay them. Many can’t afford the smuggling fees and become indentured to the cartels once they reach the United States. Others realize it’s more lucrative to become involved in transnational crime rather than get a job at a fast food restaurant, for example, Maltz said.
“This didn’t start under Donald Trump. It didn’t start under Barack Obama. It didn’t start under George Bush. This drug crisis has been escalating for years,” he said.
“But they’re doing it at levels that we’ve never seen in the history of the country.”