D.C. – More than 900 pounds of fentanyl were prevented from entering the United States in the first week of Operation Blue Lotus. A new coordinated and surge operation targeting the smuggling of fentanyl, as announced by DHS today. DHS is investing more people, technology. And other resources along the Southwest border to detect and seize this dangerous drug at and between ports of entry. This effort is being led by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and it involves federal, state, tribal, and local partners.
CBP officers, HSI agents, canine units, and high-tech equipment have all been deployed to the border as part of the operation. Which is representative of the multifaceted approach taken by the Biden administration. Targeting of drug smugglers at the border will be improved thanks to information gathered during Operation Blue Lotus. It’s meant to aid in the ongoing development of criminal cases against the transnational criminal organizations responsible for the networks and facilitators dealing with this lethal substance.
On March 13, 2023, Operation Blue Lotus was initiated, and since then, 18 seizures have been made. In addition to 16 federal arrests and 2 state arrests. Through Sunday, March 19th, these seizures had prevented the entry into the United States. More than 900 pounds of fentanyl, 700 pounds of methamphetamines, and 100 pounds of cocaine.
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Following a Tuesday meeting with CBP officials at the Mariposa Port of Entry in Nogales. Arizona, where a new multi-energy portal (non-intrusive inspection technology or NII) was recently installed to increase cargo screening capacity. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas made the announcement.
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Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas announced the program at the Mariposa entry point in Nogales. Arizona, which has surpassed San Diego as the largest U.S. route for fentanyl trafficking this year.
The blister packs of the extremely lethal fentanyl tablets are hidden by drug traffickers in the trunks of cars, in the crates of fresh fruit, or by duct-taping them to the torsos of those who ride public transportation.
The United States government is spending several hundred million dollars to install state-of-the-art new scanning machines all along the southern border, including two in Nogales.
The number of cargo trucks that can be inspected will increase tenfold thanks to these gadgets. But fentanyl remains undetected despite all of this. Because of its diminutive size, it is surprisingly difficult to detect.
The most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that a record-breaking 107,000 Americans lost their lives to opioid overdoses in 2021. With fentanyl being responsible for the deaths of 66,500 of those people.
Republicans who oppose President Biden say he is to blame because of his border policies. Which they say have diverted resources from cracking down on the illegal entry of drugs to dealing with a historic influx of migrants.
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Nogales port of entry chief Michael Humphries has been tweeting photos of recent fentanyl busts. Including two shipments on Saturday and Friday totaling 2.5 million tablets.
“CBP is at the forefront of the fight against fentanyl and other street drugs that are predominantly smuggled via Ports of Entry. CBP Deputy Commissioner Troy Davis said in a press release.
“Our dedicated employees are already capturing record volumes of fentanyl,” the company said. Adding that it had made the detection of cross-border smuggling a top priority.
The White House’s proposed budget for 2024 includes $305 million for more scanners to combat fentanyl. As promised by Vice President Biden in his State of the Union address last month.
Quickly scanning passenger and commercial vehicles for irregularities that could be drug cargo. Non-intrusive inspection” (NII) technology uses X-rays of varying intensities. The US government claims the tablets are made in secret Mexican labs using chemicals imported primarily from China.
Over the past few days. Mexico’s governor, Andrés Manuel López Himself. Has insisted that his country is not a fentanyl producer, but rather a transshipment site. People on both sides of the border are doubtful of his claims and angry at him.
The Democratic representative from Texas, Henry Cuellar, said that López Obrador, also known as AMLO, had promised to discuss ways to crack down on opioid smuggling with their Chinese counterparts.