Arizona: Gateway for more than 50% of fentanyl entering US

NOGALES, Ariz. – Four states share a border with Mexico, but new data from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reveals that drug traffickers are particularly using one state to smuggle drugs. More than half of all fentanyl entering the United States is coming through Arizona, according to NewsNation’s report on the DEA data. California follows closely, accounting for 46.3% of the fentanyl inflow, while Texas and New Mexico’s numbers pale in comparison, registering a mere 1% of drug seizures.

Of the fentanyl entering through Arizona, about half of it is coming from the southeast corner of the state.

Over the last year, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seized a historic 260,000 pounds of illicit drugs, including nearly 15,000 pounds of fentanyl, primarily at border ports of entry. However, authorities told NewsNation that border officials are only seizing a small fraction of the drugs smugglers are bringing into the United States.

“When it comes to what’s coming through the Tucson sector, which we are a part of, we’re only touching it. I can promise you we are only touching it,” Sheriff Mark Dannels of Cochise County told NewsNation.

Dannels cites a lack of resources as the significant factor in the limited success of intercepting drug shipments. President Biden has proposed a historic $46.1 billion investment in drug control programs as part of his 2024 budget. The plan includes purchasing 123 new large-scale scanners at Land Points of Entry along the Southwest Border by 2026. The White House projects that this investment will significantly enhance border inspection capacity, increasing scrutiny of passenger vehicles from around two percent to 40% and cargo vehicles from approximately 17% to 70%.

“These investments will crack down on a major avenue of fentanyl and other illicit drug trafficking, securing our border and keeping dangerous drugs from reaching our country,” the White House said in a news release.