Historic fentanyl border bust shows enormity of problem

Two summers ago residents of this region witnessed the scary power of fentanyl, when a particularly lethal batch of the opioid being sold on streets locally led to several fatal drug overdoses.

So the significance of a recent historic bust regarding fentanyl at the Arizona-Mexico border should hit home.

Customs and border officials seized nearly 254 pounds of the deadly synthetic opioid inside a load of Mexican produce heading to America. The drug was found in a compartment under the rear floor of a tractor-trailer after a scan during secondary inspection indicated “some anomalies” in the load and the agency’s police dog team alerted officers to the presence of the drugs.

The fentanyl had a street value of about $3.5 million. Agents also seized nearly 395 pounds of methamphetamine with a street value of $1.18 million.

We suspect this scenario plays out more frequently than people realize, with the loads often getting into the United States. And we would not be at all surprised if it finds its way to our region. Border personnel say Mexican traffickers have been increasingly smuggling the drug into the United States, mostly hidden in passenger vehicles and tractor-trailers trying to head through ports of entry in the Nogales, Arizona, and San Diego, California, areas.

If this is happening at ports of entry, we can only surmise what is happening through illegal entry points along the southern border. It can’t be good.

Improved border security in those areas through a variety of means, structural and otherwise, would allow undermanned border personnel to concentrate their efforts more heavily at the points of entry, both at the southern border and at seaports and other entry points throughout the country.

The drive to do just that has been termed “immoral” by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

What’s immoral is the illegal drug trade, human trafficking, and illegal entry into our country daily by people with no good intentions.

We can’t imagine most people living at our border, the families of those who have died of drug overdoses, and the growing number of people impacted by human trafficking don’t want this stopped.