Border Patrol Union: Lucky If We Seize 5 Percent of Fentanyl Pills Coming Across Border

By Charlotte Cuthbertson
Charlotte Cuthbertson
Charlotte Cuthbertson
Senior Reporter
Charlotte Cuthbertson is a senior reporter with The Epoch Times who primarily covers border security and the opioid crisis.
February 6, 2022 Updated: February 7, 2022

Border Patrol agents are so busy processing large groups of illegal aliens that, in one Arizona area, only four agents are available to patrol a 150-mile section of the border.

“Now that 150 miles of border normally takes about 75 to 90 agents—we had four agents out there,” said Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council.

Judd testified at an unofficial House hearing at FreedomWorks in Washington on Feb. 1.

“Cartels control the border right now,” he said. “They dictate to us what our operations are going to be. That should never happen.”

The amount of drugs being seized at the border has correspondingly plummeted, according to Customs and Border Protection statistics.

“If we seize even 5 percent of what’s coming across the border, we’re lucky,” Judd said, referring to a question about fentanyl pills. “And if there’s nobody there to detect you and apprehend you, the cartels are going to push it through between the ports of entry when they know that there is absolutely no chance that we’re going to apprehend that narcotic.”

During the first three months of fiscal year 2022, agents have seized 316 pounds of deadly fentanyl coming across the border between ports of entry—more than triple that of the same period in fiscal year 2021.

At the ports of entry, where most drugs are seized, agents have seized 2,390 pounds of fentanyl thus far in fiscal year 2022, compared to 10,183 pounds in the same period in fiscal year 2021. Two milligrams of fentanyl can be a fatal dose.

Cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine seizures have also been significantly reduced this fiscal year compared to the same period in fiscal year 2021.

Epoch Times Photo
Border Patrol agents apprehend illegal immigrants after they cross the Rio Grande from Mexico into the United States, in La Joya, Texas, on Jan. 14, 2022. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

More than 100,000 Americans, a record amount, died of drug overdoses in the 12-month period ending in April 2021, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fentanyl was involved in almost two-thirds of those deaths.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that’s 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, highly addictive, and deadly. Buyers may be unaware that the drugs they purchase are laced with illicit fentanyl.

The substance is most often manufactured in Mexico by using chemicals supplied from China and trafficked across the southern border by Mexican drug cartels. Fentanyl is mixed with other narcotics to increase potency as well as pressed into counterfeit pain pills that are made to look like blue Oxycodone prescription pills and are commonly known as “Mexican oxys.”

In mid-December 2021, law enforcement authorities seized a record 1.7 million fentanyl pills in Scottsdale, Arizona.

“There have been no new operations, policies, or programs put in place since this administration has taken office to help the border Border Patrol go after criminal cartels and the profits that they are generating,” Judd said. “We have allowed the criminal cartels to create billions of dollars in revenue at the expense of U.S. citizens who are dying at a record rate in 2021.”

In an indictment of the Biden administration’s management of the border, Judd said Border Patrol agent morale is “in the tank” and more agents have left the agency in the past year than were hired.

“We go home every single day defeated. We feel like our time is wasted. Our only goal is to protect the citizens of this great nation—we are not allowed to do that at this time.”

Epoch Times Photo
A Border Patrol agent organizes illegal immigrants who have gathered by the border fence after crossing from Mexico into the United States in Yuma, Arizona, on Dec. 10, 2021. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

Frustrated Border Patrol agents confronted Alejandro Mayorkas, the secretary of Homeland Security, and Raul Ortiz, the U.S. Border Patrol Chief, in recent meetings along the border.

“For evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. That’s exactly what’s happening here,” one agent said, according to a leaked video. “Good men are doing nothing. You’re allowing illegal aliens to be dropped off in our communities.”

Judd said, “I would absolutely say that this administration is aiding and abetting in the smuggling of individuals to include allowing them to make false asylum claims.”

He told lawmakers that the agency doesn’t need more funding or resources and that the immediate border crisis can be fixed through policy.

“I would argue that we must start with the illegal immigration because if we can control illegal immigration, we can then go after the cartels and their profits,” Judd said. “But as long as our hands are continually tied with the millions—because it is millions of people that cross the border illegally—we’re always going to give the cartels the upper hand to continue to cross their products and create artificial gaps in our coverage.”

Immediately after taking office, President Joe Biden dismantled several key border security initiatives that the Trump administration had established, ordering a freeze on deportation and construction of the border wall, as well as the “Remain in Mexico” program, which contributed to up to an 80 percent drop in “catch-and-release” by requiring asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico until their final court judgment.

A Supreme Court decision in August 2021 required the Biden administration to restart the Remain in Mexico program. However, Judd said fewer than 100 illegal immigrants per day are currently being registered, yet anywhere between 5,000 and 7,000 such immigrants are being apprehended on a daily basis. Most are being released into the United States to wait for a future court date that can be set years into the future.

“We’re not even a speed bump,” Judd said. “We’re actually facilitating, because when we release these individuals … we are giving them a de facto legal status to be here. We are rewarding them for violating our laws.”

Charlotte Cuthbertson
Senior Reporter
Charlotte Cuthbertson is a senior reporter with The Epoch Times who primarily covers border security and the opioid crisis.