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Tag: fentanyl

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.”

Record Number of Fatal Fentanyl Overdoses Come Amid Unprecedented Seizures at Border

Pills laced with fentanyl.

By Steve Neavling

The record number of fentanyl crossing the border is having deadly consequences: Overdose deaths have hit a new high this year. 

“If they’re seizing a lot, it’s because a lot is coming in — because you don’t know the percentage of how much is coming through that they’re actually seizing,” Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, vice dean for public health practice and community engagement at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, told The Washington Examiner.

The problem is the ease of producing and transporting fentanyl compared to other drugs, said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health.

“Only a very small concentration of fentanyl is needed in order to produce a high. So, this makes it much easier to bring fentanyl across the border – in smaller, but more potent, quantities than other drugs,” Volkow wrote in an email.

“Based on the number of drug seizures reported in 2020 for fentanyl, it appears that the illicit drug market did not suffer during the pandemic, but actually expanded,” Volkow said. “Rising fentanyl availability, decreased access to addiction treatment, increased social and economic stressors, and overburdened health departments collided in 2020 and were associated with a tragic rise in overdose deaths.”

CBP confiscated 11,201 pounds of fentanyl between October 2020 and September 2021. To put that into perspective, a single kilogram of fentanyl can kill up to 500,000 people.

Because of its potency, a small amount of fentanyl can go a long way, making it easier to smuggle into the U.S., and it’s very profitable. 

Less than month ago, the DEA announced it had arrested 810 people and seized more than 1.8 million counterfeit pills containing fentanyl as part of an eight-week crackdown on fake, dangerous prescription drugs.

According to the alert, more than 9.5 million counterfeit pills have been seized so far this year, which is more than the last two years combined. 

DEA Makes Major Bust As Part of 8-Week Crackdown on Fentanyl-Laced Pills

Pills laced with fentanyl. Photo: DEA

By Steve Neavling

The DEA arrested 810 people and seized more than 1.8 million counterfeit pills containing fentanyl as part of an eight-week crackdown on fake, dangerous prescription drugs. 

“During the past eight weeks, DEA has targeted the criminal drug networks flooding the U.S. with deadly, fentanyl-laced fake pills,” DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said in a statement. “DEA remains steadfast in its commitment reduce drug-related violence and overdose deaths by dismantling the violent, criminal drug distribution networks across the United States. The fentanyl-laced fake pills seized by DEA could potentially kill more than 700,000 Americans. I urge the American public today to talk to their loved ones about the threats and dangers of fake pills and the simple fact that one pill can kill.”

On Tuesday, the DEA issued a rare warning about mass-produced, fentanyl-laced counterfeit pills that have been linked to fatalities. 

According to the alert, more than 9.5 million counterfeit pills have been seized so far this year, which is more than the last two years combined. 

Lab testing found that the pills contain at least two milligrams of fentanyl, which is considered a lethal dose. 

Criminal drug networks from Mexico are manufacturing the pills, which look like real prescription medications such as oxycodone, hydocodone, alprazolam, and amphetamines such as Adderall, and are distributing the drugs through U.S. networks.

“Opioids were responsible for nearly three quarters of the more than 93,000 fatal drug overdoses in the United States in 2020,” Deputy Attorney General Monaco said. “The pervasiveness of these illicit drugs, and the fatal overdoses that too often result, is a problem that cuts across America from small towns to big cities and everything in between. One pill can kill. The department will continue to use all of the resources at its disposal to save lives, complementing strong enforcement efforts with public awareness and outreach campaigns, as well.”

Drug Cartels Are Smuggling Alarming Amounts of Fentanyl into the U.S.

Fentanyl found stuffed inside burritos in April. Photo: CBP.

By Steve Neavling

Fentanyl is becoming the drug of choice for cartels. 

In the past three years, fentanyl seizures have risen an astounding 4,000%, Border Patrol agents tell NBC News.

But most of the fentanyl isn’t turning up at ports of entry, where seizures are typically made. It’s found in the desert, where smugglers are taking advantage of limited federal resources.

Between 2018 and 2020, 12 pounds of fentanyl were found outside of ports of entry. By contrast, agents seized 41 pounds outside of ports of entry during 2021 fiscal year alone. 

To put that into perspective, a lethal dose of fentanyl is two milligrams. A single kilogram can kill up to 500,000 people. 

Because of its potency, a small amount of fentanyl can go a long way, making it easier to smuggle into the U.S., and it’s very profitable. 

“For the first time, we’re starting to see these tactics where fentanyl is being smuggled between ports of entry,” Chief Border Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez told NBC News. “Cartels are very creative. They find ways to intimidate migrants and find ways to illegally have them transport that narcotic into the United States.”

CBP Seized More Fentanyl So Far This Year Than All of 2020

Fentanyl found stuffed inside burritos in April. Photo: CBP.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized more fentanyl in the first few months of 2021 than in all of 2020. 

As of last month, CBP seized nearly 6,500 pounds of fentanyl, ABC News reports.

By comparisonthe federal agency seized 4,776 pounds of fentanyl last year. 

“CBP’s Office of Field Operations has seen a slight increase in narcotic seizures at its southern border ports of entry in fiscal year 2021,” an agency spokesman told ABC News.

“As cross-border travel shifted to essential-travel only, criminal organizations shifted their operations as well. CBP has seen an increase in seizures amongst U.S. citizens and in the commercial environment as both demographics are exempt from the travel restrictions.”

Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, according to Dr. Darien Sutton, an emergency medicine physician based in Los Angeles and ABC News contributor.

“People don’t realize how dangerous it is,” he said.

CBP Canine Sniffs Out $60K of Fentanyl Stuffed inside Breakfast Burrito

Fentanyl found stuffed inside burritos. (CBP)

By Steve Neavling

A Customs and Border Protection dog sniffed out nearly $60,000 worth of fentanyl stuffed inside breakfast burritos near the U.S.-Mexico Border. 

The canine alerted his handler to a Chevrolet Tahoe at an inspection checkpoint in Yuma on Monday, CBP said in a news release.

The dog sniffed out the drugs in a black backpack inside the vehicle. 

Agents found several small packages containing 5 pounds of fentanyl pills inside the burritos. 

CBP arrested the 37-year-old driver, who was a U.S. citizen.