(Joshua Paladino, Headline USA) Vice President Kamala Harris, who President Joe Biden appointed to be border czar, has helped the United States break its fentanyl smuggling record, with drug seizures in 2022 approaching 13,000 pounds.
Fentanyl deaths also peaked this year, as a record-breaking 100,000 Americans died from overdosing, the Washington Examiner reported. Harris’s open border also triggered the highest monthly fentanyl seizure in August, when Customs and Border Protection captured 2,300 pounds of the deadly drug pouring into the country.
As Chinese fentanyl suppliers have ramped up the drug’s production, Mexican as well as Central and South American cartels have expanded their smuggling operations.
“It’s a constant problem,” said Guadalupe H. Ramirez, Field Operations Director for Customs and Border Protection in Tucson, Arizona.
Ramirez said the cartels “flood the port” with fentanyl, knowing that agents will catch some drugs but that enough will get into the United States to turn a profit.
Seizures grew steadily during former President Donald Trump‘s tenure, from 2,000 pounds in 2017 to 5,000 pounds in 2020. Perhaps the pandemic or stricter border enforcement caused seizures to spike from 5,000 pounds in 2020 to 11,200 pounds in 2021.
The drug’s potent nature means that a few grains can cause an intense and addictive high, but also that overdoses and deaths occur at low doses. With the opioid being much more powerful than heroin or oxycodone, small smuggling operations into the United States can have a large effect.
Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said drug cartels control the US-Mexican border. Ramirez said smugglers use all means available to bring fentanyl into the United States.
They use private cars and store the drugs, which now come in “rainbow” colors, in and under seats, gas tanks and bumpers. Smugglers put the pills in their anuses, vaginas and other orifices.
“The first time that we saw those rainbow-colored, all the different colors, obviously, it was a huge concern,” Ramirez said. “They’re trying to make it so that younger people will be interested in it.”