NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Biden Administration is announcing a major crackdown on fentanyl coming into the U.S. by way of Mexico: Operation Blue Lotus.

Within the first week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said more than 900 pounds of fentanyl were stopped from coming into the United States, along with 700 pounds of meth and 100 pounds of cocaine.

That led to 18 seizures, 16 federal arrests, and two state arrests.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Forward Operating Labs (FOLs) at Ports of Entry conduct real-time analysis of unknown substances, enabling DHS to target, identify, and examine unknown drugs. In turn, DHS said that allows investigations to proceed more quickly. 

In the last two years, DHS said it has seized more fentanyl and arrested more criminals than it did in the previous five years combined.

The department said it is investing additional people, technology, and other resources along the southwest border to detect and capture these drugs at and between ports of entry.

In our region, drug agents said they’ve found Interstate 65 from Atlanta to Chicago to be a pipeline for drug trafficking.

At the end of February, the Warren County Bowling Green Drug Task Force said it had 24 cases for trafficking and fentanyl.

“We’re trying to get more traffickers off the street in our community, but again, until something is done at the border I just don’t see any improvement,” said Tommy Loving, the task force coordinator. “I think it’s an epidemic. I think we’re beyond a crisis.”

The DHS said it still must do more to bring to justice the criminal organizations profiting from the illegal production, distribution and sale of these dangerous drugs.

“Our dedicated personnel are already seizing record amounts of fentanyl, and we continue to make the interdiction of cross border smuggling one of our top priorities,” said CBP Acting Commissioner Troy Miller.

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Congressman Mark Green released a statement to News 2, which reads:

“It’s unclear why Secretary Mayorkas is celebrating while a record breaking 107,000 Americans died from synthetic opioids, a significant majority of those from fentanyl poisoning, in 2021. While we are grateful for the commitment of our frontline CBP and HSI personnel to stop drugs from entering the country through ports of entry, the fact is there has never been more fentanyl on our streets. Therefore, it must be coming from somewhere.
If it weren’t such a serious national security threat it would be comical how Secretary Mayorkas and this administration would use their self-made historic border crisis to find reasons to celebrate. The Biden administration must stop trying to spin its utter failure to secure our border into a success. No one is buying it anymore.”