During Arizona visit, Mayorkas touts efforts to combat fentanyl smuggling

Mar 22, 2023, 10:15 AM | Updated: 10:28 am

(Twitter Photo/@GovernorHobbs)...

(Twitter Photo/@GovernorHobbs)

(Twitter Photo/@GovernorHobbs)

PHOENIX — Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Tuesday while at the Arizona border that a new operation designed to fight the smuggling of fentanyl into the U.S. is already working.

“In its first week, Operation Blue Lotus has already resulted in 18 seizures, 16 federal arrests and two state arrests, and stopped more than 900 pounds of fentanyl, over 700 pounds of methamphetamine and over 100 pounds of cocaine from entering the United States,” Mayorkas said during a press conference in Nogales.

The announcement followed Mayorkas’ tour of the Mariposa Port of Entry with Gov. Katie Hobbs. New nonintrusive scanning equipment was recently installed in an effort to boost cargo screening capacity, DHS said in a press release.

The surge operation launched March 13 and will increase targeted inspections conducted by Customs and Border Protection officers, Border Patrol agents, Homeland Security Investigations, drug-sniffing dogs and other advanced technology.

Funding for the non-intrusive scanning inspection systems comes from a $305 million allotment approved to CBP for border technology in 2024, the release said.

“Operation Blue Lotus is a DHS-led coordinated surge effort to curtail the flow of illicit fentanyl smuggled into the United from Mexico and bring to justice the dangerous criminal organizations profiting from the illegal production, distribution and sale of this dangerous substance,” Mayorkas said.

“In addition to more arrests, the ultimate goal is to dismantle the larger criminal networks,” he said.

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During Arizona visit, Mayorkas touts efforts to combat fentanyl smuggling