Traffic is growing at the U.S.-Mexico border following the easing of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. With this, law enforcement officers have found increasing amounts of illegal drugs.
Michael Salvatti, who is the assistant director of the country’s passenger operations at Texas’ El Paso Ysleta Border Port of Entry, said that he has seen thousands of people go through this place every day.
“Things are easing back up now, thanks to the easing of travel restrictions,” he told Fox News.
Salvatti added that the traffic surge was, in general, good for the country’s economy. However, there is always a drawback.
“Our seizure rates continue to climb,” Salvatti stated. “Especially when it comes to fentanyl, methamphetamine … we saw drastic increases in that.”
Back in 2021, the El Paso Sector of the CBP alone ended up seizing over four times the amount of meth and six times more fentanyl compared to 2018. If these dangerous drugs make it past the border, they swiftly move across the country. \
“These narcotics are not destined for El Paso. They’re destined for larger metropolitan areas in the United States. They go to where the demand is the highest,” he went on to say.
One place where these narcotics usually end up is in the town of Orange in Southeast Texas, which is around 900 miles away from the border. According to the district attorney of the area, John Kimbrough, it was becoming “overrun with meth.”
“I don’t think there’s a family around that doesn’t have somebody that’s impacted by this terrible drug use,” Kimbrough continued.
Additionally, he said that the use of these drugs is connected to an uptick in crime.
“I think last year we indicted about 650 felony cases and probably, I would say probably 500 of those were either meth cases, drug cases, or they were the copper thefts, forgeries, burglaries, things like that. But, we know in looking at it that the person is an addict,” Kimbrough noted.
Similar to a lot of DAs that deal with similar problems, Kimbrough turned his focus to drug court and rehab. However, he mentioned this isn’t a solution that would work for everyone.
“The big question that you eventually get to when you talk about this is ‘What do we do about it?’” he asked.
This query is usually directed back to border officials like Salvatti.
“It’s a personal issue to me. Every day, I come to work, I come to work with the intention to do everything in my power to encourage my folks and help them to stop as much of this as possible from coming across. It’s a daunting task,” Salvatti stated.
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