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Tag: Drugs

CBP Reports 10-Fold Increase in Fentanyl Seized in South Texas

The DEA seized 15,000 pounds of fentanyl in one year. Photo: Shutterstock

By Steve Neavling

CBP reported a more than ten-fold increase in fentanyl seizures in south Texas during fiscal year 2021. 

CBP officers at eight ports of entry from Brownsville to Del Rio seized 87,652 pounds of narcotics with a street value of $786 million, the agency said this week. 

They confiscated 41,713 pounds of marijuana, 8,592 pounds of cocaine, 33,777 pounds of methamphetamine, 1,215 pounds of heroin, 588 pounds of fentanyl, $10.4 million in unreported currency, 463 weapons and 84,863 rounds of ammunition. 

“Faced with significantly less traffic due to travel restrictions imposed for public health reasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the drug and contraband threat remained the same and our frontline CBP officers rose to the challenge to meet that threat head on,” Randy J. Howe, director of field operations at the Laredo Field Office, said in a statement. “Our significant gains in fentanyl and cocaine seizures underscore the deadly nature of the contraband we encounter, the need to utilize Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to protect our officers and our continued resolve to carry out our vital border security mission.”

The seizures come at a time when U.S. authorities are seeing a surge in fentanyl overdoses. 

CBP Seized Records Amount of Fentanyl at Borders Last Year

The DEA and CBP are seizing record amounts of fentanyl. Photo: Shutterstock

By Steve Neavling

More fentanyl was seized at the border than heroin last year for the first time ever. 

Fentanyl seizures and overdoses reached record highs as the DEA tries to crack down on drug cartels that are pushing the drug, the Washington Examiner reports.

What makes it even more challenging is that drug users are unwittingly consuming fentanyl, which is being added to street drugs at alarming levels.

“Everything is potentially deadly right now, and people need to be aware,” DEA Administrator Anne Milgram told ABC’s This Week in a recent interview.

CBP intercepted 11,200 pounds of fentanyl last fiscal year, which is more than double the amount seized in 2020. By comparison, CBP intercepted 5,400 pounds of heroin in fiscal year 2021. 

In 2013, when CBP began seizing fentanyl, only 2 pounds were seized. 

The DEA also seized a record amount of fentanyl last year.

“The drug threat today is different than it ever was before. Now, today, this is all synthetic or man-made. There’s an unlimited amount of these drugs that can be made,” Milgram said.

Fentanyl Seized by DEA Is Enough to ‘Kill Every Single American’

The DEA seized 15,000 pounds of fentanyl in one year. Photo: Shutterstock

By Steve Neavling

The DEA has seized so much fentanyl in the past year that it’s enough to “kill every single American,” Anne Milgram, head of the DEA, said. 

In an interview on Face the Nation, Miligram said the agency has seized 15,000 pounds of the deadly, highly addictive synthetic opioid.

“We’ve taken off 20 million fake pills this year. We estimate at the DEA lab that four in 10 of those pills are potentially deadly. We’ve taken off 15,000 pounds of fentanyl this year. That is enough potentially lethal doses to kill every single American,” Milgram said. “So we are doing a lot of work to make sure that we are taking those drugs off the street.”

In the 12 months ending April 2021, more than 100,000 people died in the U.S. from drug overdoses. Nearly 64% of the deaths were caused by fentanyl. 

“We’re in the middle of an unprecedented moment, 100,000 Americans have died. That’s more Americans than died from car crashes. That’s more Americans that died from car crashes and gun violence in the past year. This is unprecedented, and it is tragic,” Milgram said. “So to me, DEA has to do everything we can to meet this moment. We have to do more than we’ve ever done before, and so does Mexico, and so does China. And so to me, this is about saving lives.”  

The fentanyl is mainly coming from drug cartels in Mexico, and the chemicals are being imported from China, Milgram said. 

“We’ve built a case against the criminal drug networks,” she added. “And we’ve drawn that line between the Mexican criminal cartels that are mass producing illicit fentanyl and making these fake pills and pouring it into the United States. What we’re doing is investigating. We want to understand everything about how this is happening. And of course, the social media companies need to do more.”

El Chapo’s Wife Sentenced to 3 Years in Prison for Helping Drug Kingpin Run Cartel

‘El Chapo’ Guzman

By Steve Neavling

The wife of convicted drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was sentenced to three years in prison Tuesday for helping her husband run his cartel and aiding his 2015 escape from a Mexican prison.

Emma Coronel Aispuro, a 31-year-old former beauty queen, pleaded guilty on June 10 to three criminal counts, including conspiracy to traffic cocaine and money laundering.

Prosecutors said Coronel Aispuro was a co-conspirator in the activities of the Sinaloa Cartel.  

Guzman, the longtime head of the Sinaloa, was convicted in 2019 on drug conspiracy charges and sentenced to life in prison. 

Coronel helped Guzman ship drugs and evade capture and later was the main conspirator in the successful plot to break him out of the Altiplano prison in Mexico.  

The FBI’s Washington Field  Office led the investigation, with assistance from FBI Field Offices, the Drug Enforcement Administration and Homeland Security Investigations. 

FBI Special Agent Kerry Inglis Receives Director’s Award for Excellence in Investigation

By Steve Neavling

FBI Special Agent Kerry Inglis of the Indianapolis Field Office received the Director’s Award for Excellence in Investigation for helping take down a drug-trafficking organization. 

Inglis was the case agent on Operation Electric Avenue, which led to a series of raids at two dozen locations in Indianapolis and Phoenix and resulted in the arrests of 25 people, including drug kingpin Richard Grundy III and his organization, the Grundy Crew. 

Grundy, whose drug organization was called the Grundy Crew, was convicted in August 2019 of conspiracy to distribute drugs worth $3.5 million in 2016 and 2017. 

The Grundy Crew distributed more than 400 pounds of methamphetamine and large amount of cocaine, heroin and marijuana. 

Feds Seize 220 Pounds of Cocaine, Disrupt Mexico-to-Chicago Drug Pipeline

Plane seized in cocaine bust. Photo: DOJ

By Steve Neavling

Federal agents disrupted a suspected Mexico-to-Chicago drug pipeline, seized a private plane and 220 pounds of cocaine, and arrested three people as part of the Nov. 3 operation, the Justice Department said Tuesday

About 176 pounds of the cocaine were discovered in a vehicle in Chicago’s River North neighborhood. Another 44 pounds were found in a hotel room in the city’s Gold Coast neighborhood. 

Feds allege the cocaine had been flown from a private plane in Toluca, Mexico, to the Chicago area. Once the plane arrived at Gary/Chicago International Airport, the cocaine was stuffed in suitcases and driven to downtown Chicago. 

Sebastian Vazquez-Gamez, 30, of Mexico, and Rodrigo Alexis Jimenez-Perez, 25, of Indiana, were arrested in downtown Chicago. Sergio Ivan Blas was arrested in the Indianapolis area.   

Suspected Leader of MS-13 in Honduras Added to FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List

By Steve Neavling

The suspected leader of the notorious MS-13 gang in Honduras has been added to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list. 

The FBI is offering a reward of up to $100,000 for information leading to the arrest of Yulan Adonay Archaga Carias, also known as Alexander Mendoza and Porky. 

Archaga Carias has been charged with racketeering conspiracy, possession of machines guns and cocaine importation conspiracy in the Southern District of New York. 

“He’s wanted for, among other crimes, facilitating the transportation of multi-ton loads of cocaine through Honduras into the United States, as well as possession and conspiracy to possess machine guns that were used by gang members to support international drug trafficking,” FBI Supervisory Special Agent Nick Durgin said in a statement Wednesday.

Archaga Carias is accused of murdering and participating in the murder of rival gang members and others associated with M-13. He was sentenced to a lengthy prison term after a Honduran tribunal convicted him of conspiracy and other charges in August 2018.  

Then in February 2020, Archaga Carias escaped Honduran custody when about 20 armed men wearing police and military uniforms stormed a courthouse where he had a scheduled hearing, killing multiple police officers. 

The Joint Task Force Vulcan (JTFV), which formed in 2019 to combat MS-13, is investigating Archaga Carias’ disappearance. 

“This is a joint effort,” Durgin, who supports JTFV for the FBI, said. “When we work together with our partners, we can see the crossover and better address the threat.” 

M-13 poses a serious threat in Central America, the U.S., and other parts of the world, the FBI said. 

“MS-13 is an international criminal organization whose business model is extreme violence,” Durgin said. “Capturing this individual would send a clear message to MS-13 that their violent activity and narcotics trafficking will not be tolerated.”

DEA Seizes Largest Amount of Cocaine Destined for New York in More Than a Decade

By Steve Neavling

The DEA seized more than a ton of cocaine that was destined for New York, and three people were indicted for their alleged involvement in a drug trafficking conspiracy. 

It was the largest seizure of cocaine headed to New York in more than a decade, according to DEA Special Agent in Charge Roy Donavan. 

“A multimillion-dollar storm of cocaine was seized before it could wreak havoc in the Northeast,” Donovan said in a statement.  “Over one ton of cocaine was seized, making it the largest cocaine seizure destined for the streets of New York in over a decade.  This seizure signifies a shift in the illegal drug landscape in New York, with cocaine seizures rising more than 150% in the last year.  DEA and our law enforcement partners will continue to guard against drug trafficking organizations’ tactics and techniques to smuggle drugs into our country.”

Jorge Aponte-Guzman, 33, Nelson Agramonte-Minaya, 37, and Carlos Maisonet-Lopez, 32, face up to life in prison on charges of conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute at least 5 kilograms of cocaine. 

According to federal prosecutors, the drugs were inside 10 large metal law rollers in a rental van. 

“A seizure of this magnitude underscores the critical importance of working together with our federal and local law enforcement partners in the DEA Westchester Task Force, Westchester County Police Commissioner Thomas A. Gleason said. “The tremendous work and dedication of the DEA and Task Force Investigators has interrupted a major drug distribution operation and prevented approximately one ton of dangerous, illegal narcotics from being distributed on the streets of our area.” 

Read the full indictment here.