According to the latest statistics from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the amount of fentanyl seized while crossing the southern border in the first five months of fiscal year 2021 is already higher than the amount seized in all of fiscal year 2020.
More than 5,000 pounds (2,268 kilograms) of fentanyl have been seized by CBP since Oct. 1, 2020, Acting CBP Director Troy Miller said during a media call on Wednesday (March 10).
Miller said, “We’ve seen a dramatic increase in fentanyl seizures this fiscal year, up more than 360 percent from the same period last year.”
He revealed, “Nationwide drug seizures in February of this year were up 50 percent over January . Cocaine interdictions increased by 13 percent , methamphetamine seizures increased by 40 percent and heroin seizures increased by 48 percent.”
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid. Deaths from fentanyl overdoses are on the rise in the United States. Fentanyl is usually manufactured in Mexico using chemicals supplied by China. It is mixed with other narcotics to increase its effectiveness and is pressed into a counterfeit painkiller, commonly known as “Mexican oxy.”
Derek Maltz, former head of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Special Operations Division, told The Epoch Times, “The drug cartels control the supply of drugs. It’s really, really worrisome.”
He said, “I expect the crisis to continue to escalate. It’s really sad, to be honest, because I’ve talked to a lot of Parents who have lost their children to drugs, especially because of counterfeit drugs, and these are coming from Mexico.”
The Border Patrol station in Rio Grande City, Texas, is responsible for a 68-mile (109.4-kilometer) stretch of the international border in south Texas. It is located in the Rio Grande Valley Sector, which in 2019 was the busiest of 135 U.S. drug stations and the second busiest to apprehend illegal aliens crossing the border.
In March 2019, Raul Ortiz, then deputy chief of the Rio Grande Valley Sector’s Raul Ortiz Border Patrol, commented on the situation, saying, “What we’ve seized may not even be 10 percent of all drugs that come in.”
Border experts say that with the influx of illegal immigrants, the number of drugs seized by the Border Patrol is likely to decrease – and drug agents will be responding more to large numbers of people crossing the border than to intercepting drugs. Border Patrol highway checkpoints in many areas, too, will be closed as Border Patrol agents are sent to the border to help deal with the increase in illegal immigration.
The Biden administration has said there is no crisis at the southern border and has urged potential immigrants not to enter illegally. But the latest figures on illegal border crossings show that the number of people crossing the border hit a 14-month high in February, with more than 100,000 people apprehended by Border Patrol agents.
Mexico’s president has expressed concern, saying President Biden’s policies have encouraged illegal immigration and human trafficking along the U.S.-Mexico border.