Authorities at a customs port in Pennsylvania recently seized nearly $2 million worth of fentanyl smuggled through the mail from China.
Agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) uncovered the shipment Friday during an examination of a Chinese shipment of iron oxide. A CBP K-9 unit alerted agents to the presence of narcotics, and a subsequent search revealed 50 individually wrapped packages of a white powder, later identified as fentanyl, reported the PhillyVoice.
The packages contained a total of 110 pounds of fentanyl, carrying an estimated street value of roughly $1.7 million. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid roughly 30 to 50 times more powerful than pure heroin, is blamed as the primary driver of drug overdose deaths across the U.S. (RELATED: Sessions Announces Charges For 601 People In Largest Health Care Fraud Bust In History)
“Opioids, including fentanyl and its analogues, are a serious public health concern, and the importation of vast amounts of this deadly synthetic chemical compound is a national security threat,” Casey Durst, director of field operations in Baltimore for CBP, told the PhillyVoice. “Customs and Border Protection remains committed to keeping our communities safe by combating the flow of illicit drugs, including synthetic opioids, into the United States.”
A federal drug task force recently seized enough fentanyl during a bust in Ohio to cause nearly half the state to fatally overdose.
Agents with a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) task force in Columbus, Ohio, executed a search warrant at a local residence on June 25, where they seized roughly one kilogram of methamphetamine, 10 ounces of heroin and 10 kilograms of fentanyl.
The fentanyl seizure was enough to kill roughly 5 million people, as only 2 milligrams of the painkiller can cause an adult to suffer a fatal overdose.
Opioid seizures by Border Patrol agents nearly doubled from 579 pounds in 2013 to 1,135 pounds in 2017, a recent report from Democratic Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill shows. Heroin continues to be the most common opioid coming across the border, with seizures increasing by 73 percent in 2017 to 662 pounds. Seizures of fentanyl rose by 72 percent in 2017.
Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental death for Americans under age 50, killing more than 64,000 people in 2016.
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