Fentanyl seizures at the southern border jumped over 200% in July

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Seizures of the deadly drug fentanyl jumped over 200% in the month of July, according to government figures released Monday — amid a continuing border crisis and widespread concern over overdose deaths.

Over 2,100lbs of the drug, which can be fatal in small doses, were seized in July. That’s the highest amount seized in at least the last four fiscal years. The largest seizure before July was in April, where 1,300lbs were seized. The 2,100lbs seized in July is up 202% from the 640lbs seized in June and also eclipses the 780lbs seized in July last year.

The synthetic opioid is typically used for treating severe pain and is 50-100 times more potent than morphine. Illicit fentanyl is now primarily made in Mexico from precursors manufactured in China, and then trafficked across the southern land border.

SAN DIEGO BECOMES ‘EPICENTER’ OF FENTANYL SMUGGLING AMID SPIKE IN DEATHS, DRUG SEIZURES

This photo shows the largest seizure of fentanyl pills in California history.

This photo shows the largest seizure of fentanyl pills in California history.
(Drug Enforcement Administration)

It is frequently cut with other drugs, meaning that users may often be unaware that they are ingesting the potent substance. While the increased seizures show that more of the drug is being caught by border officials — particularly at ports of entry — it has raised fears that, like illegal migrants, more may also be getting past as border traffic increases.

The Drug Enforcement Administration has previously warned of a “nationwide spike” in mass fentanyl overdoses and has said the drug is killing Americans at an “unprecedented rate.”

Of the more than 108,000 overdose deaths last year, more than 80,000 were linked to fentanyl.

US SOUTHERN BORDER SAW NEARLY 200,000 MIGRANT ENCOUNTERS IN JULY AS BORDER CRISIS ROLLS ON

“We are seeing a transition with having the most dynamic supply environment this country’s ever seen,” Dr. Rahul Gupta, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, told Fox News Digital in a recent interview. “And what that means is we’re seeing a shift from plant-based or organic compounds, primarily, like cocaine and heroin, to synthetic compounds — compounds that you don’t need large fields and crops to produce, you don’t need a lot of time to produce. You can produce them in small clandestine labs…and these compounds are getting more lethal in smaller amounts.”

Last week, DOJ officials said that the San Diego area of ‚Äč‚ÄčCalifornia — which includes six international border crossings — has become the “epicenter” of fentanyl smuggling.

WHITE HOUSE HONORS LAW ENFORCEMENT IN FIGHT AGAINST SYNTHETIC OPIOIDS, INCLUDING FENTANYL

So far in FY 2022, more than 5,000 lbs have been seized by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agencies in those two counties — amounting to 60% of the 8,425 lbs that have been seized across the country. Seizures have increased in San Diego by 323% in just three years and by 272% in Imperial County.

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Officials cited statistics that show fentanyl-related overdose deaths have increased a staggering 2,375% in San Diego County, from 33 in 2016 to at least 817 in 2021.

The White House has launched a multi-faceted response to the opioid crisis, and has noted its investments in agencies for national drug control programs and $293 million for CBP to prevent fentanyl smuggling at the border. It has also successfully pushed the UN to ban precursor chemicals, and President Biden himself issued two executive orders on the matter. It has also emphasized a broad response focusing not only on interdiction, but also treatment for Americans affected by the crisis.

Republicans, meanwhile, have linked the fentanyl surge to the ongoing border crisis, which they say has been inflamed by the Biden administration’s end of Trump-era enforcement policies. The July fentanyl numbers came in the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) monthly border snapshot — which also stated there were nearly 200,000 migrant encounters. That is slightly lower than both last July and last month, but still at historically high levels.