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Authorities at the southern border seized approximately 1.6 million fentanyl pills and other lethal drugs concealed inside metal boxes hidden underneath the floor and various trap doors of an 18-wheeler tractor-trailer Saturday at the Nogales Port of Entry in Arizona.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection Nogales Port Director Michael W. Humphries said in a tweet that a “massive amount of fentanyl pills” and other narcotics like cocaine and heroin were found and confiscated before crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.
Saturday’s seizure comes only days after Nogales agents blocked about 265,000 rainbow-colored fentanyl pills resembling candy and sidewalk chalk.
The synthetic opioid, typically used to treat patients with chronic pain or following surgeries, has 100 times the potency of morphine, U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) officials said. But with the amount of illegally produced fentanyl manufactured in clandestine labs, smugglers at the southern border have fueled a crisis that authorities have called “an epidemic hidden by the pandemic.”
“There’s no question in my mind that the vast majority of chemicals are coming from China and going into Mexico and being mass produced into fentanyl and methamphetamine and increasingly into the counterfeit pills that we see on our streets,” Anne Milgram, an administrator with the DEA said during a press conference last year.
In 2021, DEA officials busted over 9.5 million counterfeit pills, with 40% containing a lethal dose in Arizona, according to The Epoch Times.
According to the CDC, synthetic opioids (like fentanyl) are the primary driver of overdose deaths in the United States.
Border patrol agents reported that fentanyl seizures increased by over 200% last month. U.S. lawmakers are urging local, state, and federal officials to confront the crisis.
The Epoch Times spoke to Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA) in June, who said “without abusing law enforcement jurisdictional authority, without abusing sovereignty, [and] without abusing rights,” the country has to work together to stop the influx of fentanyl crossing the border.
“It all has to be done while operating within the parameters of the law and the Constitution,” Higgins said. “We have lost operational control of the southern border months ago, and fentanyl is entering the country at unprecedented levels—and there’s no end in sight.”
Higgins, who showed support for legislation that would make fentanyl trafficking punishable by life in prison, blames the crisis on weak border policies where some migrants are “likely plugged into a criminal network,” allowing millions of fentanyl-laced counterfeit pills to spread into “ever nook and cranny of the country.”
The bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Health last at the beginning of the year.