Drug Trafficking at the U.S. Southern Border: An Extreme Threat to Public Health and Safety
By: Thomas McGregor
The United States has been facing a growing problem of drug trafficking from Mexico across the southern border. According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the volume of illicit drugs seized at the border has increased significantly in recent years. The most commonly trafficked drugs include methamphetamine, cocaine, and fentanyl. These drugs pose a significant threat to the health and safety of the American public and have significant social and economic costs.
Methamphetamine, a highly addictive stimulant, is one of the most prevalent drugs trafficked across the southern border. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Mexican drug trafficking organizations are the primary source of methamphetamine in the United States. In 2020, the CBP seized over 8,700 pounds of methamphetamine at the southern border, a significant increase from the previous year (CBP, 2020). This drug causes significant harm to those who use it, including brain damage, heart problems, and increased risk of violence and addiction.
Cocaine is another drug that is frequently trafficked into the United States from Mexico. The DEA reports that Mexican drug trafficking organizations are also the primary source of cocaine in the country. In 2020, the CBP seized over 33,000 pounds of cocaine at the southern border, a substantial increase from the previous year (CBP, 2020). This drug can lead to physical and psychological harm, including heart attacks, strokes, and addiction.
Fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid, is another drug that is increasingly being trafficked across the southern border. This drug is highly potent and can cause significant harm, even in small doses. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fentanyl is responsible for a growing number of overdose deaths in the United States. In 2020, the CBP seized over 400 pounds of fentanyl at the southern border, a significant increase from the previous year (CBP, 2020).
In an August 2022 release by Assistant U. S. Attorney Adam Gordon of the Southern District of California, Gordon stated:
“Initially, drug trafficking organizations were adding small amounts of fentanyl to large loads of other drugs like methamphetamine. But more recently, these criminal organizations are moving significantly larger quantities of fentanyl pills and powder across the border. In a recent six-day period, CBP and Border Patrol intercepted four separate vehicle loads of fentanyl weighing between 100 and 250 pounds from July 13 to 18 in Campo and Calexico.”
To continue with Gordon’s assessment, his colleague U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman said that agencies ten years ago didn’t know about fentanyl-like we do today, and now, “it’s a national crisis.”
“The amount of fentanyl we are seizing at the border is staggering. The number of fentanyl seizures and fentanyl-related deaths in our district [Southern District of California] is unprecedented,” Grossman said.
In conclusion, the trafficking of drugs from Mexico across the southern border of the United States is a growing problem that poses a significant and urgent threat to the health and safety of the American public. The drugs most commonly trafficked include methamphetamine, cocaine, and fentanyl, all of which can cause significant harm due to the various combination of lethal doses distributed to unsuspecting users. The U.S. government must continue to invest in resources and strategies to combat drug trafficking and protect the public from the harmful effects of these drugs. Furthermore, governments across all jurisdictions need to urgently enact legislation that strengthens penalties for the mass distribution of lethal drugs that sends a message to drug traffickers and keeps the deadly amount of illicit drugs out of the hands of United States citizens.
CBP. (2020). Fiscal Seizures. U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Retrieved fromhttps://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/stats/sw-border-field-operations/fy20-enforcement-statistics
DEA. (n.d.). Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations. Drug Enforcement Administration. Retrieved from https://www.dea.gov/drug-trafficking-mexican-drug-trafficking-organizations
CDC. (2021). Fentanyl Overdose Data. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved fromhttps://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/fentanyl.html
CBP. (2022). Five Days, Six Busts Have Calexico CBP Officers Seizing 494 Packages of Meth, Fentanyl, and More https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media-release/five-days-six-busts-have-calexico-cbp-officers-seizing-494-packages
CBP. (2022). Border Patrol Agents Seize Over 200 Pounds of Fentanyl https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media-release/border-patrol-agents-seize-over-200-pounds-fentanyl