Border Patrol Agents Seized Enough Fentanyl in Single Weekend to Kill Entire Population of Chicago

Inflow of at least $10 million in drugs from Mexico narcotics comes days ahead of Title 42 termination

A U.S. Border Patrol agent (Getty Images)
May 8, 2023

$3.6 million worth of cocaine. Nearly a million dollars worth of heroin. And enough fentanyl to kill 2.75 million people—more than the entire population of Chicago.

That's what law enforcement seized on the southern border over the weekend, as hundreds of thousands of immigrants gather in Mexico to prepare to flood the United States this week.

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol chief Raul Ortiz on Monday shared that law enforcement seized 164 pounds of marijuana, 83 pounds of methamphetamine, 66 pounds of cocaine, and 11 pounds of fentanyl, just two to three milligrams of which can kill a user. The total value of the drugs seized is well north of $10 million, according to United Nations' estimates of drug costs, and is also likely a fraction of the drugs coming across the border, most of which is not seized by authorities. Ortiz also disclosed that agents apprehended nearly 26,400 illegal aliens and knows that at least 7,399 crossed the southern border and evaded law enforcement.

Ortiz’s disclosure provides a snapshot of the daily inflow of narcotics and illegal aliens just days before the termination of Title 42, a public health order that allows law enforcement to quickly deport border crossers. Officials expect crossings to surge after Title 42 lapses on Thursday, putting tremendous strain on law enforcement. Illegal border crossings could rise from roughly 3,000 a day to 15,000 a day in the coming weeks.

Roughly 700,000 migrants are waiting in Mexico to enter the United States, Border Patrol officials said earlier this month. Department of Homeland Security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas warned agency staff in an internal memo that the end of Title 42 "will strain our workforce, our communities, and our entire system."

Although the Biden administration routinely touts the amount of fentanyl law enforcement seizes, the number of lethal overdoses in the United States is at a record high. Experts believe the amount of narcotics caught traveling through the southern border represents a small fraction of what ultimately makes it into the nation’s interior.

President Joe Biden ordered 1,500 troops to the southern border to assist with processing aliens after they enter the country. Members of the military will not play any role in enforcing immigration law, the Pentagon said.