CIUDAD JUAREZ, CHIHUAHUA.- The U.S. Border Patrol agents have seized enough fentanyl between the ports of entry so far this fiscal year to kill 100 million people, the head of Border Patrol said this week — which would be more people than live in California, Texas, and New York.
U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz announced that agents have seized more than 465lbs of the narcotic, which can fatal in tiny doses, between the ports of entry since the start of the fiscal year in October.
“That’s enough to kill 100 million people,” he said.
Ortiz made the remarks in announcing that agents in the Yuma Sector in Arizona had encountered an illegal migrant carrying 93 lbs worth of the narcotic. Last week, he had noted the dramatic increase in seizures, saying that agents had caught enough fentanyl to kill over 60 million people just in January.
“In the month of January alone, agents seized 55 firearms [and] over 6,800 lbs of narcotics, which included enough fentanyl to kill over 60 million people,” Ortiz said.
With California containing around 40 million people and New York around 20 million, that amount of fentanyl would be enough to kill both states’ populations.
Fentanyl has been at the epicenter of the U.S. opioid crisis. Officials have said that of the 108,000 overdose deaths in 2021, more than 80,000 were linked with opioids like fentanyl — which is often cut into other drugs, so people don’t know that the drugs they are taking contain it.
A U.S. Border Patrol agent stands on a cliff looking for migrants that crossed the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico near the city of Sasabe, Arizona, Sunday, January 23, 2022. (Photo by Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Fentanyl is primarily made in Mexico using Chinese precursors and smuggled across the land border. Primarily it is intercepted through ports of entry by CBP’s Office of Field Operations (OFO) as smugglers attempt to bring it to the country in their vehicles, but it is also sometimes stopped by Border Patrol agents in the field.
On Tuesday, Ortiz announced that agents had encountered five bundles of narcotics while tracking a group of smugglers in a remote area of the desert near Nogales, Arizona. That seizure includes 24 lbs of fentanyl, as well as marijuana, meth, and cocaine.