Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR), Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) are seeking stricter federal sentences for traffickers of fentanyl who deceive buyers by misrepresenting what drugs they are actually selling.
The three Republicans’ legislation, titled the Zero Tolerance for Deceptive Fentanyl Trafficking Act, will greatly increase federal sentences for fentanyl traffickers who deceptively sell the lethal drug to Americans.
For example, under the legislation, any deceptive fentanyl trafficker with a previous felony or who is an illegal alien would be eligible for a federal life sentence. Likewise, fentanyl traffickers who mislead buyers about what drug they are selling would be eligible for a 20-year federal prison sentence.
For fentanyl traffickers who intentionally kill their buyers with the drug by failing to disclose that the drug is in fact fentanyl, they would be eligible for the death penalty under the Cotton, Loeffler, Blackburn legislation.
Cotton said in a statement:
Drug dealers who peddle fentanyl know just how deadly it is, but the worst of them lace other drugs with it and then sell their poison to unknowing customers. By tricking their victims into buying much more potent drugs than expected, these dealers often kill their customers. We shouldn’t have any tolerance for such a fatal act of deception.
The legislation would make permanent fentanyl’s classification as a controlled substance by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Though opioid deaths in the U.S. fell last year for the first time in almost three decades, drug overdoses in 2017 killed an unprecedented 72,287 U.S. residents, nearly three times the number of individuals killed by global terrorism and 10,000 more than the number of Americans killed in the Vietnam War. Nearly 50,000 of those deadly overdoses were caused by either heroin or fentanyl.
In 2018, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency seized enough fentanyl to kill nearly twice the U.S. population, Breitbart News reported. For the first time, Americans are now more likely to die from an accidental opioid overdose than from injuries in a car crash.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.