DRUG cartels at the Mexico border are capitalizing on the coronavirus pandemic, say border patrol officials, whose seizures of meth alone were up by more than a quarter in April.
Overall confiscations of the four major drugs – cocaine, fentanyl, heroin and methamphetamine – were all up in April, including a four per cent increase in fentanyl and a 27% increase in meth, according to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) figures.
"As for the cartels and drug trafficking networks, we know that there is no ‘day off’ for them," Mark Morgan, acting commissioner of the CBP, told Fox News.
"They continue to exploit the current health pandemic by attempting to move counterfeit products into our country, yet we continue to seize large amounts of dangerous and deadly drugs along our nation’s borders."
Morgan provided Fox News with a number of examples of recent drug stops CBP agents had made near the border.
On April 25, agents in Laredo, Texas seized 578lbs of meth in a construction materials shipment in a tractor-trailer driven by a Mexican citizen.
During that same month, 66lbs of meth and two pounds of fentanyl were stopped in a car driven by a Mexican national in San Ysidro, California.
In comparison, 651lbs of meth was seized by the CBP for the whole of April 2018.
"Effective border security is an intertwined and complex set of threats," Morgan said. "We must understand who and what is coming across our borders, and we must have the ability and tools to prevent those people and goods from being introduced into the U.S. that could do us harm."
More than 900 people die every week in the US from opioid-related overdoses, with some experts saying the country has not reached its peak yet.
Millions more suffer from opioid addiction.
For decades, heroin was the most commonly used illegal opioid, but in the past few years, Americans have increasingly turned to synthetic drugs, including fentanyl.
The drug, named by some law enforcement officials as "manufactured death", is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, and much cheaper.
A 2019 report found synthetic opioids continue to drive overdose death rates.
Rates of overdose deaths involving fentanyl specifically doubled each year from 2013 through 2016.
Since the 12-month period ending December 2015, deaths have increased from approximately 9000 to the 31,473 in the 12-month period ended December 2018.
Morgan called the CBP officers working along the US-Mexico border "true heroes".
"How can you thank someone enough, someone who risked their life to protect others?," he said. "They did something greater than themselves."
Source: Read Full Article