In the days leading up to Halloween, local and federal law enforcement officials alerted parents to the risk that fentanyl could be disguised as candy. Analysts attribute Mexico’s Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation Cartels for mass-producing fentanyl pills in rainbow-like colors to mimic candy or other legitimate, but less powerful prescription drugs.
Two weeks prior to Halloween, 12,000 rainbow-colored candies were intercepted at LAX which prompted a warning from a Los Angeles DEA special agent to parents with trick-or-treat age children to carefully inspect their kids’ candy. Thousands of miles east in Connecticut, mules camouflaged 15,000 fentanyl pills as Skittles and Nerds. Investigators also arrested a New York City-bound woman transporting multicolored fentanyl inside a Lego box. As one agent said, “This isn’t a drug issue, it’s a mass poisoning.” A single fentanyl dose the size of ten grains of table salt will kill; the drug is 50 times more potent than heroin.
Potentially deadly crimes involving smuggling fentanyl pills which look similar to popular candy brands began on the West Coast in February, and the trend has since expanded throughout 21 states. The DEA reported that between May 23 through September 8, 2022, it seized 10.2 million fentanyl pills and about 980 pounds of fentanyl powder.
In 2021 alone, the federal government counted more accidental overdose deaths than it did in the 20-year period from 1979 through 1998. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calculated that of more than 108,000 U.S. residents who died of drug overdoses between February 2021 and February 2022, more than 70 percent involved fentanyl and other synthetic opioids. Overdoses, often involving cases where the drug trafficker deceived his client into believing he was ingesting a less toxic narcotic, have been many times more frequent than they were during the 1980s’ cocaine crisis or, going further back, greater yet than the death total during the black tar heroin epidemic, the crisis that led President Richard Nixon to unveil his War on Drugs. Since Nixon launched his futile battle against drugs, more than $1 trillion has been squandered.
The federal Commission on Combating Synthetic Opioid Trafficking – a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers, experts and officials from various departments and agencies – cautioned that if the U.S. doesn’t respond forcefully to the new challenges fentanyl presents, more American lives will be lost. Cochaired by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and U.S. Rep. David Trone (D-Md.), the commission found that while 70 percent to 80 percent of fentanyl seized by federal authorities between 2014 to 2019 came from China, today Mexico is the “dominant source,” according to the commission.
Fentanyl is mostly trafficked by land across the U.S.-Mexico border, although cartels have entered through the northern border with Canada and have also accessed the U.S. Postal Service for its distribution. The borders are, at best, loose, and easily accessible to the well-funded, heavily armed and money-motivated cartels.
Since Biden’s inauguration, about 5 million illegal aliens have crossed the porous U.S. border. Customs and Border Protection can’t even keep up with the foot traffic. Border Patrol Union Chief Brandon Judd said that 90 percent of his resources are tied up in illegal immigrant processing, a distraction that cartels easily exploit. For the traffickers, Judd concluded, “the border is wide open,” a welcome mat that means billions of dollars. U.S. Global Financial Integrity, a Washington, D.C. think tank that studies illicit money flows, estimated the retail value of transnational drug trades at between $426 billion and $652 billion annually.
Faced with irrefutable facts – that the White House refuses to secure the northern and southern borders, and has therefore allowed drug trafficking to persist with only, as a percentage of the total quantity, a tiny fraction seized – Capitol Hill insiders have concluded that the Biden administration is indifferent to the despair, destruction and death that fentanyl brings to so many Americans