SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California Governor Gavin Newsom is sending additional National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to fight drug trafficking. The troop number will rise by approximately 50%, going from 40 to 60 soldiers. They’ll be stationed at the four main U.S. ports of entry to help in detecting illegal drugs, with a particular focus on fentanyl, a synthetic opioid up to 50 times more powerful than heroin.
The deployment is in addition to the state’s billion-dollar investment to tackle the fentanyl crisis.
“Fentanyl is a deadly poison ripping families and communities apart. California is cracking down — and today we’re going further by deploying more CalGuard service members to combat this crisis and keep our communities safe,” Newsom said in a statement.
Newsom said that last year CalGuard helped law enforcement seize 28,765 pounds of fentanyl in California, an amount with an estimated street value of more than $230 million.
According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, the majority of fentanyl is smuggled into the U.S. at ports of entry by U.S. citizens, not by migrants.
The action comes as the country is experiencing its deadliest drug crisis in history, with nearly 110,000 Americans dying from drug overdoses and fentanyl poisoning in 2022.