Law enforcement has pushed back against Democrats’ claims about fentanyl and

By Bethany Blankley (The Center Square)

Local and federal law enforcement officials are pushing back against claims by Democratic members of Congress that most illegal fentanyl seizures at southern border ports of entry prove Republicans are exaggerating the border crisis.

On Tuesday, Jamie Raskin, D-Maryland, ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, claimed most fentanyl, 90%, is being seized at the southern border at ports of entry and more than 80% is detained. They are American citizens for smuggling.

“We need to stop the flow of fentanyl into our country,” he said. “It’s a matter of life and death.” However, he said, “the majority of fentanyl coming into the country is seized at ports of entry, not from migrants traveling across the border on foot,” adding, “Fentanyl is seized at ports of entry at vehicle check points. And not in between,” and ” What is even more surprising is that 80% of people have been convicted of smuggling [fentanyl and drugs] was an American citizen, not a foreign citizen.”

A similar argument was made by Democrats at a House Judiciary hearing on border security last week.

But Tucson Sector Border Patrol Chief John Modlin said Border Patrol agents seized more than 700 pounds of fentanyl in 2022, about half of which was in the field, meaning not at a port of entry.

“To give you an idea of ​​the lethality of fentanyl, it’s enough to kill 21 times the population of Arizona, or basically half the population of the United States,” he said. Agents pick up 52% ​​at ports of entry and the rest “after backpacking across the border,” he said.

Former Republican Gov. Doug Ducey created the Arizona Border Strike Force to provide state funding to local law enforcement agencies to combat rising crime from the southern border.

In 2021, strike force members “seized over 700 pounds of fentanyl in one year, up from 284 in the previous five years,” Jobe Dickenson, president of the Mesa-Arizona-based Border Security Alliance, told Center Square. “There are 4,500 pills in a pound.”

The data excludes statewide and federal statistics seized by local police, he said.

“The amount of fentanyl coming across the southern border, past the border patrol and into the hands of local law enforcement and our citizens is staggering.” “Because Border Patrol agents can’t patrol the border while processing illegal immigrants, more fentanyl is making it further into the United States, causing more local police and sheriff’s seizures of fentanyl to skyrocket.”

RELATED: Border officials reject claims that fentanyl isn’t being smuggled into the U.S. between ports of entry

Dickenson argues that the lack of border security is affecting local Arizona law enforcement. Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs’ plan to defund the strike force would cripple local law enforcement’s ability to thwart cartels and criminal activity, including the continued seizure of record amounts of fentanyl, he said.

Dickenson also asked, “How is it that all this fentanyl is coming through ports, going through inspection officers and high-tech machines, but then patrol officers are making traffic stops and seizing record numbers in the field? We’re seeing how much is coming into our community,” he said, of the entry. From illegal entrants into the port.

Modlin testified that Tucson sector agents are primarily detaining single military-age men in camouflage who work with Mexican cartels. They are dangerous, and include those who have previously been deported and assaulted Border Patrol agents, he said.

U.S. Rep. Katie Porter, D-Washington, pointed to an increase in fentanyl seizures at the border around June-August 2020, saying, “In 2020 we had a change in president and some changes in border policy, and what we’re seeing here is data that proves that we Seizing too much fentanyl.”

A change of presidents did not occur until January 2021, when President Joe Biden and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas began rolling back implementation of existing border security and immigration policies, including halting border wall construction, drastically changing deportation and detention policies, trying . Ending enforcement of Title 42 in Mexico, creating new visa and parole programs, among other policies for which nearly half of US states have sued his administration multiple times.

RELATED: Border Chief: Single Military-Age Male Most Illegally Entering Tucson Sector

Porter said as a mother, she “doesn’t want this fentanyl in this country. It’s dangerous and it kills people.” He also said that the seizure of records “is a sign that our border patrol and our agents at the ports of entry, where certainly the vast majority of fentanyl is seized, are doing their job. What I find interesting is that despite the success, what we’re hearing is failure in seizures. Attempts to identify as

Porter cited Republican members of Congress as referring to “Biden’s border crisis” and the seizure of fentanyl. “To me, the fact that you’re seizing these drugs is a success,” he told the agents to testify.

Terrell County, Texas, Sheriff Thad Cleveland, a former longtime Border Patrol agent who worked in Arizona, told The Center Square, “Every seizure of any drug or paraphernalia is successful. However, what is scary now is that almost weekly we are being informed of record seizures of fentanyl. Why did this happen? Because the cartels are having so much success smuggling, it encourages them to ship more.

“It doesn’t matter if 90% or 99% of the fentanyl is seized at the port of entry,” Cleveland said, because the numbers “represent what’s seized, how it gets through or, more importantly, what goes out.”

Cleveland also said Congress should prioritize border and national security and look at immigration reform once the border is secured.

Syndicated with permission from Center Square.