“Parro” for Borderland Beat
Fentanyl seizures at the U.S.-Mexico border are up 361 percent so far in 2021 when compared to 2020, according to data provided by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The fentanyl seizures so far this year are already higher than the 2020 annual totals.
Seizures went from 483 kilograms in 2020 to 2.2 tons in 2021. If the figures from October 2020 to February 2021 are compared with those in 2018 and 2019, the increase is 402 percent.
These fentanyl shipments are mostly from two Mexican criminal groups: the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) and the Sinaloa Cartel (CDS).
The jump in the seized figures is brutal: from 2018 to 2020, the average was stable at 464 kilos during the first five months of the year. However, in 2021, the seizures increased expotentially by reaching 2,232 kilograms.
Not surprisingly, the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issued its 2020 National Drug Threat Assessment, as published by Borderland Beat, where it explained how fentanyl is manufactured and assembled.
Most of these operations are carried out in clandestine laboratories in Mexico, although investigators say there are some in China as well. The drugs are then smuggled to the US and feed into the growing drug crisis. More people have died from drug overdose since the Barack Obama administration in 2008 than those killed in the Vietnam War.
What is it?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 80-100 times stronger than morphine. Pharmaceutical fentanyl was developed for pain management treatment of cancer patients, applied in a patch on the skin.
Because of its powerful opioid properties, Fentanyl is also diverted for abuse. Fentanyl is added to heroin to increase its potency, or be disguised as highly potent heroin. Many users believe that they are purchasing heroin and actually don’t know that they are purchasing fentanyl – which often results in overdose deaths.
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