RIVERSIDE COUNTY, California — Law enforcement along the United States-Mexico border and in California’s border communities are finding the deadliest of drugs, fentanyl, in just about everything from bags of Skittles to vaping pens.
As President Joe Biden’s administration considers fighting to keep mask mandates on Americans traveling on domestic commercial flights and buses, law enforcement officials say they are witnessing firsthand an epidemic far greater than the Chinese coronavirus.
“We’re finding fentanyl in everything,” Riverside County District Attorney Michael Hestrin said at a meeting with Reps. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Ken Calvert (R-CA) this week.
Fentanyl, of which two milligrams can kill one person, is primarily manufactured in China before being flown into Mexico where the Mexican drug cartels then traffic the drug into American communities via the nation’s porous southern border.
Many of the factories where fentanyl is laced into drugs sit right on the border. Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco revealed that in some cases, the Mexican drug cartels are now making their deadly product in the U.S.
“We’re finding fentanyl laced into all the hard drugs. It’s getting into vaping pens,” Hestrin said. “At the same time, we’re having a counterfeit pill issue. The Mexican drug cartels are producing pills that look exactly like OxyContin. They’re made using fentanyl and the drug dealers are selling them on Snapchat.”
In one recent instance, Hestrin said a drug dealer on Snapchat purporting to be selling Miami Marlins jerseys with the number “30” on the back was actually selling M30 pills made with fentanyl.
“A parent would think their child is buying a jersey, but they’re actually being sold OxyContin with fentanyl,” Hestrin said.
Border Patrol Agent Mark Dunbar said fentanyl is being trafficked across the border in a number of ways — in trucks, on a border crossers’ person, as well as through mountains and over hills. Specifically, the drug is flowing up to southern California’s biggest city, San Diego.
“Fentanyl can be laced through any narcotic. Some agents have seen where fentanyl pills are hidden in bags of skittles,” Dunbar said. “People who ingest fentanyl pass out and then the kids around them will get into it and overdose and die as well.”
“The first-time user is the one who is overdosing,” he said.
That was the case of 20-year-old Alexandra Capelouto who died in 2019 after having been sold what she believed was an anti-depressant and sleep aid but which was a counterfeit pill laced with fentanyl. A federal case against Capelouto’s dealer is expected this year.
Fentanyl is so addicting that Bianco said regular users are willing to die.
“We recently had a teen girl that died, we brought her back to life with Narcan,” Bianco said. “When we were interviewing her, she said she specifically would not tell us who she had gotten the fentanyl from because she planned on buying more.”
As Breitbart News reported, the inflow of fentanyl into American communities has spiked in recent years. In fiscal year 2019, about 2,800 pounds of fentanyl was seized at the border. The following year, that figure capped out at 4,800 pounds of the drug seized. By fiscal year 2021, which represents most of Biden’s first year in office, fentanyl seizures skyrocketed to about 11,200 pounds.
Already, in fiscal year 2022, which began October 1, 2021, about 5,300 pounds of fentanyl have been seized at the border. The figures indicate that fentanyl seizures under Biden, last year alone, have quadrupled since fiscal year 2019 when former President Donald Trump was in office.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter here.