The seizure a week ago of the largest haul of fentanyl ever — 254 pounds — should make every American stop, think and shudder. That amount of deadline synthetic opioid, 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine, could kill more than 115 million people, a third of the U.S. population, authorities say. It actually does kill many thousands, and we need better ways to stop its import from Mexico.
The fentanyl, along with 395 pounds of methamphetamine, were found in a produce truck crossing into Nogales by customs officers with the help of a canine team. Those officers do some great work, but obviously many of the drugs shipped to the United States get through, and many pass through Pinal County.
Meanwhile, negotiations for President Trump’s border “wall” seem to be at a standstill as the clock ticks toward another government shutdown. At this point, it appears Trump will not get any more wall or fence from Congress, although he may try to go the emergency route with funds already appropriated to various departments.
The rhetoric often confuses the situation. Control of the ports and the miles in between both are important. The two parts are related, and security depends on both.
Trump may be able to negotiate some improvements in the immigration situation, which intersects with drug smuggling because some of the same people are involved in both. At the same time, more technology and agents are needed for deployment at the ports.
Of course, drug smuggling is based on demand, and that is a key part of the equation. But the availability of such highly addictive drugs is a key factor also.
Border issues have become far too political, while the American public mostly just wants answers. Our national leaders should realize that and deliver desired outcomes. They might do well to look to the example of Arizonans in various interest groups and the Legislature who came to a compromise by the end of January on shrinking water supplies. That is how a serious problem should be addressed.