In the last three years, the amount of fentanyl seized entering the southern border has increased by 4,000 percent.
El Paso Border Patrol reported one pound of fentanyl outside ports of entry in 2018, two pounds in 2019, and nine in 2020. Within the 2021 fiscal year, agents have already seized 41 pounds. “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 said in an interview.“ Cartels are very creative. They find ways to intimidate migrants and find ways to illegally have them transport that narcotic into the United States.”
Reports of human smuggling have also emerged, “If we don’t correct this stash house and tractor-trailers activity that we have with these folks, this could escalate and possibly become a war zone … between rival gangs. These local gangs that we have here — it’s an extension of these Mexican cartels working through these local gangs that we have,” said Texas Democrat Mayor, Pete Saenz.
Drug Enforcement Administration suggested cartels prefer smuggling fentanyl because it is expensive, highly potent, and easy to transport. The unprecedented increase in fentanyl seizures mirrors the uptick in illegal immigrants, including criminal nationals. With minimal federal assistance, states like Texas and Arizona are increasing law enforcement and border barriers independently.
ARTICLE: ANTOINETTE AHO
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: NEW YORK TIMES
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