The Department of Homeland Security has unveiled a new “intelligence-driven approach” to disrupt international criminal organizations and keep “dangerous substances like illicit fentanyl” off American streets.
Homeland Security Investigations on Tuesday released its 15-page “Strategy for Combating Illicit Opioids,” which it says is based on four goals: reducing the international and domestic supply; attacking the enablers of opioid trafficking such as illicit finance; cybercrime and weapons smuggling; and conducting outreach with private industry.”
“For more than five years now, fentanyl has been causing so much loss of life and destruction in our communities,” Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement. “We in the Department of Homeland Security, along with our federal, state, and local partners, are committed to combating this scourge and protecting American communities from it.
“The new HSI Strategy for Combating Illicit Opioids that we are announcing today will help further align our intelligence and field operations to keep fentanyl off the streets and bring ruthless cartels and criminal organizations to justice,” he added.
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The U.S. Border Patrol makes a fentanyl bust in San Clemente, California. (U.S. Border Patrol)
In fiscal year 2022, the HSI says it seized more than 1.8 million pounds of narcotics and $5 billion in illicit currency and assets, according to the report.
Among the new steps the HSI will take include ramping up staffing at Southwest border ports of entry “in anticipation of increased narcotics detections,” it says.
The report calls for the creation of the Cross-Border Financial Crime Center, which will be a “partnership between federal law enforcement agencies, partner nation authorities, U.S. regulatory organizations, banks and other financial institutions, and financial technology companies aimed at achieving enhanced information sharing on financial crime and the illicit use of cryptocurrencies.”
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A billboard put up by Families Against Fentanyl on the 10 freeway near Peck Road in El Monte, California, in April 2023. (Paul Bersebach/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images)
“The Center will directly support the prosecution, disruption, and dismantlement of [transnational criminal organizations] TCOs and other criminal actors engaged in illicit cross-border financial activity.”
Homeland Security says profit is the “primary motive” behind the production and sale of illicit drugs.
The Department of Homeland Security says the “United States is facing an unprecedented epidemic of deaths” from opioid overdoses. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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“Currently, Mexican cartels generally source chemicals used in the production of drugs from Asia. There are indications, however, that certain key chemicals originate from the United States,” the report also says. “HSI will establish the Chemical Industry Outreach Project to proactively engage domestic chemical companies exporting licit precursor chemicals to Mexico and Central America to counter this trend.”
Greg Norman is a reporter at Fox News Digital.