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War on Drugs

NGO warns migrants coming to border are already addicted to fentanyl

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An organization that helps those with drug addiction on the Mexico-U.S. border warned that fentanyl consumption has reached migrants arriving in Ciudad Juárez, where some already arrive with drug problems from their countries, according to Mexican government statistics and a report published by the EFE Spanish news agency.

ADN America reports that Julián Rojas Padilla, coordinator of Harm Reduction in the Compañeros Program (HRCP), a civil association that supports consumers who want to quit substances, told Spanish language media outlets that fentanyl mixed with other drugs in Juárez has become a popular new and dangerous choice of narcotics reaching the migrant population.

The anti-drug activist also said that among those arriving in Ciudad Juárez, they have detected some who ingest drugs and others who take them throughout their harsh migration journey to endure it.

“Without job opportunities, support networks, the vulnerable conditions in which they find themselves, all of this leaves them exposed to experimenting with other types of substances or to return to the substances that they already consumed from their place of origin or that they consumed there. for some time,” Rojas said, according to the agency.

The alert comes as pressure grows from the United States to control fentanyl trafficking from Mexico, which claims that the drug and its chemical precursors arrive from Asia to the country, where Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador denies that there is a consumption problem.

A few weeks ago, the National Commission on Mental Health and Addictions (CONASAMA) reported the care of 430 patients for ingesting fentanyl in 2023, an increase of 29% compared to 333 the previous year.

“They are concentrated in states in the north of the country such as Baja California, Baja California Sur, Chihuahua, Sinaloa and Sonora. This shows that the increase is at a local level, not national. However, the main concern revolves around its high lethality,” the entity warned in a report.

Rojas Padilla also explained that fentanyl is a synthetic opioid 150 times more powerful than heroin and 100 times more intense than morphine, which makes it deadly. He explained that it has an effect of sedation, lethargy and turning people like “zombies,” who remain immobile and lose track of time.

He also warned that this substance has no color or smell, so anyone who consumes any other drug adulterated with fentanyl can easily overdose. The expert warned that such a situation puts the migrant population even more at risk, because when they obtain a substance they do not have the possibility of knowing if it is adulterated with the powerful substance.

“People don’t realize until they consume it and have an overdose event,” he said. “That is the way to detect the presence of fentanyl,” he said

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Immigration

$18 million dollars’ worth of methamphetamine hidden within a shipment of squash

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at the Otay Mesa Commercial Facility discovered $18 million dollars’ worth of methamphetamine hidden within a shipment of squash.

Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) revealed in a press release on Monday, at approximately 6:47 a.m.,that CBP officers encountered a 44-year-old male driving a commercial tractor-trailer with a shipment manifested for squash. The driver, a valid border crossing card holder, was referred for further examination by CBP officers along with the tractor-trailer and shipment.

Non-intrusive scanning technology was utilized to conduct a full scan of the tractor trailer which showed irregularities and CBP officers requested a CBP human and narcotics detection canine. The canine team responded and alerted officers to the presence of narcotics.

A total of 1,419 packages concealed within the shipment of squash was discovered and extracted. The narcotics were tested and identified as methamphetamine with a total weight of 11,469 pounds with an estimated street value of $18,350,400.

“Our officers’ commitment to duty, excellence, and the safety of our nation is truly commendable. These results serve as an outstanding display of effectiveness in thwarting the illegal importation of narcotics,” stated Rosa E. Hernandez, Otay Mesa Area Port Director. “Their exceptional efforts truly embody the highest standards of service.”

The seizures are part of Operation Apollo, a holistic counter-fentanyl effort that began on October 26, 2023 in southern California, and expanded to Arizona on April 10, 2024, the CBP release reveals. Operation Apollo focuses on intelligence collection and partnerships, and utilizes local CBP field assets augmented by federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial partners to boost resources, increase collaboration, and target the smuggling of fentanyl into the United States.

The CDC states that more than 150 people die every day from drug overdoses related to synthetic opioids derived from fentanyl.

 

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