Mikael Solorio, 23, died after ingesting a fentanyl-laced tablet. His sister discovered him swinging over the side of his bed, his legs dangling over the edge. Mikael Tirado was one of 93,331 people who died from an overdose in the United States last year, an all-time high. Since at least 2016, fentanyl, a fatal synthetic opioid, has been entering in growing amounts each year. It’s usually made by Mexican gangs using Chinese materials and then smuggled across the southern US border.
The cartels are smuggling record volumes of the fatal narcotic into the United States by exploiting law enforcement flaws and legislative shortcomings. Long-standing difficulties include a lack of screening technologies and an inadequate US-Mexico attempt to destroy the cartels. There’s also a new one: the migrant influx across the border, which the Biden administration has little to address.
More Customs and Border Protection agents are not included in the administration’s future budget proposal. Former law enforcement sources claim that cartels are to blame for the uptick, which has overwhelmed officers’ ability to track down drug smugglers. Agents are distracted to catch and process migrants, so they may quickly enter Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California with fentanyl.
The government has proposed spending $11.2 billion to enhance substance misuse prevention, treatment, and recovery programs, significantly above last year’s proposal. The intensity of fentanyl, 50 times stronger than heroin, makes it so dangerous. According to a DEA investigation, 40% of the confiscated tablets contained a potentially lethal amount.
According to a former US agent, smugglers have taken absolute control of the Mexican side of the 1,950-mile border with Mexico. Smugglers make their way through rugged terrain to one of the hundreds of stash homes near border crossings. The drugs are loaded onto automobiles and driven across the nation, frequently via unprotected checkpoints.
Rather than chasing the traffickers, Border Patrol personnel are dealing with migrants into the United States. Mexico, according to agents, must begin targeting cartel manufacturing laboratories to reduce supplies significantly. Mexico’s military war against cartel bosses was terminated two years ago by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. Former ICE agent Derek Maltz believes, “Destroying the laboratories needs to be a primary priority.”
The State Department is taking a more accommodating stance, endorsing Lopez Obrador’s economic growth approach. According to the DEA special agent, the number of overdose deaths this year will be on pace with or exceed last year’s. Vanda Felbab-Brown, a Brookings Institution professor, has urged the government to “toughen up” on Mexico.