It’s every town: Texas communities are being ravaged by fentanyl
Any effort to address this crisis must include securing the border.
But fentanyl is an Everytown problem, and it’s only going to get worse until the southern U.S. border is secure. More than five Texans die each day, on average, of fentanyl overdoses. This is a public health crisis that touches every corner of Texas.
Last spring, students began overdosing and dying in Carrollton, an upscale suburb north of Dallas.
“On the same day, federal authorities announced a fourth arrest related to deadly drug sales in Carrollton last Friday, a student at R.L. Turner High School became unresponsive after ingesting a pill, requiring a dose of a lifesaving drug called Narcan,” Fox 4 News reported at the time. “That student did survive.”
In July, the alleged distributor was arrested and identified as Julio Gonzales Jr.
“These arrests demonstrate the continued resolve of DEA Dallas to investigate this organization to the fullest extent possible,” said Eduardo A. Chavez, special agent in charge at the Drug Enforcement Administration. “Local street dealers, transporters, bulk suppliers, and anyone in between should know DEA Dallas is still committed to holding everyone in this organization, and others like it, accountable for selling fentanyl to our communities.”
If only the Justice Department’s resolve included securing the border. The prosecution of any number of distributors and dealers connected to the Carrollton case will be a drop in the bucket.
Though the feds seized thousands of pills containing fentanyl when they arrested Gonzales, last year the DEA seized “nearly 15 million lethal doses of fentanyl and more than 7,000 pounds of methamphetamine last year, enough to kill nearly 33 million people,” according to the Center Square.
Fox reports that the DEA seized “enough fentanyl to kill the entire U.S. population this fiscal year, as agents also struggle to contend with a record-setting migrant crisis at the southern border.”
“Border Patrol Chief Jason Owens announced that agents have seized over 2,700 lbs. of fentanyl as part of the more than 69,000 lbs. of narcotics seized between ports of entry,” Fox explains. “The seizures include 40,000 lbs. of marijuana, 13,000 lbs. of methamphetamine and 11,000 lbs. of cocaine.”
Much of that occurs in Texas, where Gov. Greg Abbott’s Operation Lone Star is taking the fentanyl threat seriously — and responding.
But only a portion of the drugs being imported is seized. The rest make their way to every city and every town in Texas.
Even the far-off and left-leaning New Yorker magazine has reported on fentanyl’s effects on small towns in Texas. That includes Kyle, which is in Hays County.
“Overdoses among young people are up across the country; nearly 40% of the fentanyl overdoses recorded by the Hays County Sheriff’s Office in 2022 involved people younger than 18,” the magazine states. “Many of the Hays County kids who overdosed thought they were taking Xanax or Percocet; instead, the pills turned out to be counterfeits laced with fentanyl.”
In Wichita Falls last year, 15 people died of fentanyl in the span of seven months. That’s when Wichita County Criminal District Attorney John Gillespie started charging the dealers with murder.
Last month, a Wichita County jury found Jacinto Jimenez guilty of murder for supplying a fatal dose to a customer. He was sentenced to 45 years in prison.
These responses are natural and appropriate. But they’re not enough.
Successful drug interdiction campaigns target every level — the raw materials coming from abroad, the manufacturers, the traffickers and the dealers. We know where the raw materials are coming from; they’re coming from China, in the form of precursors. And we know where the counterfeit pills that are killing so many Americans are being manufactured — in Mexican pill mills.
Any effort to address the fentanyl crisis must include securing the border, which the Biden administration is allowing the drug cartels to cross and control with impunity.
In Carrollton, Texas, families turning off the light in a now-empty child’s bedroom have the cold comfort of knowing that a drug dealer is behind bars. But since the Biden administration refuses to do its duty at the border, more families will soon face the same emptiness.