Fiscal Year 2021 saw a marked increase in the amount of narcotics seized by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in south Texas.
A new report by CBP reveals that although the COVID-19 pandemic helped slow human traffic, drugs and other illicit goods have continued to make their way from Mexico across the southern border into the United States during the last fiscal year, which lasted from October 2020 until September 2021.
The report, which gathered data from eight ports of entry along the southern Texas border between Brownsville and Del Rio, found that during this time, agents seized nearly 88,000 pounds of narcotics with an estimated street value of $786 million.
According to the CBP, agents confiscated 41,713 pounds of marijuana, 33,777 pounds of methamphetamine, 1,215 pounds of heroin, 8,592 pounds of cocaine, and 588 pounds of fentanyl. Of greatest concern are the latter two, which saw an increase from Fiscal 2020 of 98 percent and 1,066 percent, respectively.
Given the fact that just quarter of a milligram of fentanyl is enough to kill a person, CBP agents have expressed concern with their proximity to the substance. "Our significant gains in fentanyl and cocaine seizures underscore the deadly nature of the contraband we encounter," said Laredo Field Office's Randy J. Howe, and "the need to utilize Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to protect our officers and our continued resolve to carry out our vital border security mission."
Howe reiterated that while there has been "less traffic due to travel restrictions imposed for public health reasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the drug and contraband threat remained the same and our frontline CBP officers rose to the challenge to meet that threat head on."
Drugs were not the only illicit goods seized. The report shows CBP officers intercepted $10.4 million in unreported currency, 463 weapons, and 84,863 rounds of ammunition bound for the United States.
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