White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the nation is experiencing historically low rates of fentanyl despite dire warnings from border officials and the nation’s attorney general.
The statement came one month after border officials testified at a Congressional hearing that, between October 2022 and February 2023, enough of the illicitly produced synthetic opioid had been trafficked across the United States-Mexico border to kill more than a billion people.
During a March 7 press briefing, reporter Doug Doocy asked, “Cartels kill Americans on this side of the border with drugs and now they’re killing Americans on the other side of the border with guns. Why is President Biden so comfortable with cartels operating so close to the U.S.?”
“Let me be very clear: because of the work that this president has done, because of what we have done specifically on fentanyl at the border, it’s at historic lows,” Jean-Pierre responded.
She said a “historic level” of personnel have been recorded at the border “seizing that fentanyl.”
“We’ve done it in a historic way,” the press secretary said. “That’s because of what this president has done.”
She added that the Biden administration has levied sanctions against traffickers and financiers have “been able to disrupt” fentanyl supply chains. Additionally, she said the federal government has increased access to drug treatment and thereby has prevented Americans from overdosing on fentanyl.
“We’re seizing fentanyl at record historic levels because of… what the president has done to secure our borders,” Jean-Pierre said. “And look, we have also coordinated … our relationship with Mexico to deal with what we are seeing as it relates to violence, as it relates to cartels.”
DOOCY TIME: “Cartels kill Americans on this side of the border w/drugs & now they’re killing Americans on the other side…w/guns. Why is President Biden so comfortable w/cartels operating so close to the U.S.?”
KJP: “Well, let’s be very clear…[fentanyl] is at historic lows” pic.twitter.com/b79tBzU6l6
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) March 7, 2023
While questioning two US Border Patrol agents on Feb. 7, Tennessee Congressman Tim Burchett noted Customs and Border Patrol had seized 9,400 pounds of the illicit opioid. Of the total volume, 7,200 pounds of fentanyl were seized specifically at the US-Mexico border.
“That’s enough fentanyl to kill every American five times over,” said Burchett, per The New York Post.
The Drug Enforcement Administration states that two milligrams of fentanyl can be fatal.
The border agents, Tucson Sector Chief Patrol Agent John Modlin and Rio Grande Vally Chief Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez, both confirmed drug trafficking remains rampant at the southern border.
“In the Tucson sector last year we seized about 700 pounds of fentanyl,” Modlin testified. “Based on the lethality of a dose of fentanyl, that’s enough to kill everyone in Arizona 21 times or basically half of the population of the United States.”
Attorney General Merrick Garland appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 1 and testified that Mexican drug cartels had intentionally released fentanyl in America.
“It’s a horrible epidemic, but it’s an epidemic that’s been unleashed on purpose by the Sinaloa and the new generation Jalisco cartels,” Garland said. He claimed the Mexican government could do more to assist the US as it fights drug trafficking.
According to Fox News, fentanyl seizures have dramatically spiked during the Biden administration. In 2020, the agency recorded 4,800 pounds of fentanyl were seized. In 2022, the agency seized 14,700 pounds.
Since the 2023 fiscal year began in October, 12,500 pounds of fentanyl have been seized by American border authorities.
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