By PAIGE FLANNERY
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials in Arizona announced on Thursday that border officers have made the largest fentanyl bust in U.S. history.
The 254 pounds of powder and pills that were confirmed to be the synthetic opioid was found hidden inside of a floor compartment of a large truck trailer filled with cucumbers. Officials valued the drug at $3.5 million. This bust is a large step for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, but a small step for the opioid crisis in the United States.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 70,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2017. This record breaking number has much to do with the out-of-control opioid overdose crisis in America. The National Institute on Drug Abuse says that more than 130 people in the United States die from opioid overdose every day.
So what does this monumental fentanyl bust mean for the United States? The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has referred to Mexican cartels as “the greatest criminal drug threat to the United States.” These cartels are known to smuggle narcotics across the Southwest border of the U.S., often hidden in trailers similar to the truck trailer filled with cucumbers and 254 pounds of fentanyl that was just busted. This fentanyl seizure was more than double the amount of the previous record that was found in Nebraska in 2017. This national security concern is constantly on the radar for Customs and Border Protection officials, and this bust was an important victory for them.
We often hear President Trump preaching about his proposal for a border wall, which he claims will reduce national security concerns such as drug trafficking. However, U.S. Border Protection officials have expressed that, according to their data, the majority of hard drugs such as fentanyl and other opioids are seized from vehicles that attempt to cross the border by driving through official entry ports. It is unclear if a border wall would have much of an impact on the drug trafficking and opioid crisis in the U.S., but this major bust will hopefully act as a warning for all other drug traffickers looking to cross the border into the United States.