Border Patrol seized enough fentanyl to kill entire US population this fiscal year
Border Patrol agents have seized enough fentanyl to kill the entire U.S. population this fiscal year, as agents also struggle to contend with a record-setting migrant crisis at the southern border.
Border Patrol Chief Jason Owens announced that agents have seized over 2,700 lbs of fentanyl as part of the more than 69,000 lbs of narcotics seized between ports of entry. The seizures include 40,000 lbs of marijuana, 13,000 lbs of methamphetamine and 11,000 lbs of cocaine.
This amount of fentanyl, which does not include the amount seized at ports of entry, is more than enough lethal doses to kill the entire population of the United States. While significantly more is caught at ports of entry – with over 22,000 lbs caught at the ports of entry at the southern border this fiscal year — the stat highlights the danger of fentanyl moving between the ports and potentially past overwhelmed agents in the field.
Opioids were involved in more than 100,000 overdose deaths in 2022. Fentanyl is the most prominent opioid, which is produced primarily in Mexico using Chinese precursors and then trafficked across the southern border. The drug is 50-100 times stronger than morphine and is often cut with other drugs, meaning that the user doesn’t know they are ingesting fentanyl.
While opioid deaths have risen sharply in recent years, the Biden administration has pointed to data suggesting overdose numbers are slowing and has tied that flattening to its drug strategy — which involves going after smugglers, increasing technology at ports of entry, and providing additional funding for treatment and prevention within the U.S.
But the administration has faced criticism from Republicans over the fentanyl crisis, particularly over its handling of the crisis at the southern border, which they say has exacerbated the flow of fentanyl into the U.S. Some Republicans, including those on the 2024 trail, have called for military action in Mexico to take out drug labs run by the cartels.
Meanwhile, the fentanyl numbers come as the U.S. has again seen a significant increase in the numbers of migrants flooding across the southern border.
There were more than 230,000 migrant encounters at the southern border in August, and that number looks likely to increase in September.
Customs and Border Protection sources told Fox News on Monday that there were approximately 11,000 migrant encounters at the southern border, exceeding the record highs seen in the days before the Title 42 public health order ended in May.
CBP officials tell Fox that large groups of migrants are creating a distraction for cartels to move contraband like fentanyl into areas that are unpatrolled by Border Patrol agents – who are busy processing migrants.