The murderous cartels continue to reap billions of dollars in profits … our sons, daughters, Moms, Dads, neighbors … continue to drop like flies, while tRump pursues his ineffective policies.
Drugs pour into America via the Postal Service and legal points of entry.
THOSE are the facts.
Excerpts from the Article:
Chinese drug traffickers had some advice for American buyers of fentanyl: Let us ship it to you by regular mail. It might be slower than FedEx or UPS, but the opioid is much more likely to reach its destination through the U.S. Postal Service.
These cyber drug dealers wrote their U.S.-based customers — in emails later uncovered by federal investigators — that private delivery companies electronically tracked packages, allowing the easy identification of mail from suspect addresses and creating a bright trail connecting sellers and buyers of illegal fentanyl.
The Postal Service for years did not institute similar safeguards — and that gaping hole in the nation’s borders has not been fully closed despite legislation compelling its elimination. Fifteen percent of all packages from China are still not electronically tracked, and the figure rises to 40 percent for all packages from around the world entering the United States.
“What do we not know about these packages that are coming in?” Frank Russo, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection port director at John F. Kennedy International Airport, said in an interview. “When you’re talking about a million packages a day,” he said, noting the amount of international mail arriving at JFK alone, “40 percent is a large number.”
On Wednesday, the Trump administration sanctioned three Chinese nationals accused of trafficking fentanyl, identifying two of them as “significant foreign narcotics traffickers.” Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker said the “Chinese kingpins” directly contributed to the nation’s opioid addiction crisis by shipping hundreds of packages of synthetic opioids to the United States.
“The most common distribution medium is via the U.S. Postal Service,” the Treasury Department said in a statement announcing the sanctions.
Trump weighed in on the issue Friday, tweeting that he was “ordering all carriers,” including the Postal Service, “to SEARCH FOR & REFUSE all deliveries of Fentanyl from China (or anywhere else!).”
The illicit use of the U.S. mail system, widely recognized but unaddressed for years, was just one in a number of persistent vulnerabilities at the nation’s ports of entry and in international mail centers as the fentanyl epidemic metastasized and tens of thousands of Americans died, according to dozens of interviews with law enforcement officials and lawmakers and internal government documents.
Thomas Overacker, executive director of cargo and conveyance security for Customs and Border Protection, told Congress in July that his agency is able to inspect only about 2 percent of cars and 16 percent of commercial vehicles that come across ports of entry at the southwest border — another major conduit for fentanyl.
CBP has experienced a critical shortage of officers and trained dogs. Last year, then-Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) released a report concluding that the agency had 4,000 fewer officers at the nation’s ports of entry than were needed.
“At the very least, we need to ensure that our ports are adequately staffed and equipped to deal with this problem — and right now that’s simply not the case,” McCaskill, who lost reelection last November, said in a statement at the time of the report.
Fentanyl — 50 times more potent than heroin — has fueled the deadliest drug epidemic in American history. From 2013 through 2017, more than 67,000 people died of synthetic-opioid-related overdoses, the majority of them from fentanyl. In 2018, another 31,473 Americans died, according to the latest available figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While prescription opioid overdoses fell last year, deaths from fentanyl rose, according to provisional data in a CDC report released in July. Fentanyl is the third wave of the opioid epidemic, which began with prescription pills, migrated to heroin and then morphed into the current crisis.
… From the start, the program faltered. Postal officials did not send all of the suspicious packages to CBP, even though the two agencies have adjacent facilities at JFK. The Senate report blamed “a lack of forethought and cooperation, conflicting missions, and interagency personality conflicts.”
An unnamed CBP official was accused of refusing to cooperate with the Postal Service. The CBP official ultimately was reassigned, according to the report, but the program ground to a halt.
Border barriers between Mexico and San Diego. President Trump has argued that a wall will stanch the flow of drugs, but CBP says most fentanyl seized at the southwest border comes in through legal ports of entry. (Salwan Georges/The Washington Post)
The San Ysidro Port of Entry in San Diego is the busiest border crossing in the Western Hemisphere. Every day, more than 90,000 people — including 70,000 passengers in 45,000 cars — walk or drive across the border where U.S. Interstate 5 begins just north of Tijuana. San Ysidro also is one of the biggest gateways for illicit drugs into the United States. Mexican cartels smuggle across, in ever-increasing quantities, fentanyl powder mixed with heroin or pressed into counterfeit prescription pills.
CBP’s Overacker testified in July that his agency seized about two pounds of fentanyl in 2013. Last year, the agency seized more than 2,100 pounds, most of it at the southwest border.
“Through June of this year, we have already seized as much as we did last year,” Overacker testified at the hearing before a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on efforts to stop fentanyl from entering the country.
President Trump maintains that a wall along the southwest border will stem the flow because agents are seizing large amounts of fentanyl being smuggled between ports of entry. But CBP officials say the vast majority of fentanyl is seized from vehicles driving through official crossings.
“Roughly 90 percent of what we seize is at a port of entry as opposed to in between the ports,” Overacker testified.
The investigators found the suppliers they targeted — which sent hundreds of packages to more than 300 people — by using simple Google searches such as “fentanyl for sale.” The suppliers said they preferred to ship fentanyl through regular express mail.
Portman’s investigation disclosed that seven people died from fentanyl overdoses after buying the drug from the small group of online sellers the inquiry had focused on. One of the deceased, an Ohio man, paid $2,500 for 15 packages he received between May 2016 and February 2017.
“President Xi, in a wonderful humanitarian gesture, has agreed to designate Fentanyl as a Controlled Substance, meaning that people selling Fentanyl to the United States will be subject to China’s maximum penalty under the law,” then-White House press secretary Sarah Sanders announced.
The fentanyl ban was due to take effect on May 1, 2019. But on Aug. 1, Trump accused his Chinese counterpart of reneging.
“My friend President Xi said that he would stop the sale of fentanyl to the United States – this never happened, and many Americans continue to die!” the president said in a tweet.
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