The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) announced Thursday that in this year alone they have seized enough fentanyl crossing the border to kill 200 million people.
The drug seizures are part of Operation Lone Star – a Texas initiative to curb entry of human traffickers and drug runners into the state.
According to new data provided by the Texas DPS on Thursday, Operation Lone Star has seized 160 pounds of fentanyl within its targeted area. Other drugs seized within that area include marijuana (13,494 pounds), cocaine (2,430 pounds), meth (1,647 pounds), and heroin (37 pounds).
Combining activity inside and outside of Operation Lone Star's area of interest, the Texas DPS has seized 886 pounds of fentanyl – approximately 200,790,522 lethal doses, according to data provided by the DPS in a slide presentation.
"They try and sell it as 'synthetic heroin' in order to increase their profits," DPS seized drug system trainer Jennifer Hatch said. "But what ends up happening with a lot of these is they end up leading to death because people don't know these are in the drugs they're ingesting."
"Most recently it's been found in ecstasy tablets," she later added.
A spokesperson also presented data showing Operation Lone Star has resulted in at least 165,497 migrant apprehensions and referrals. Operation Lone Star reported the additional seizure of 477 firearms, as well as over 10,000 criminal arrests.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is seeing a record number of seizures of fentanyl. (Courtesy DEA)
Operation Lone Star was formed in March of this year under Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
"The crisis at our southern border continues to escalate because of Biden administration policies that refuse to secure the border and invite illegal immigration," Abbott said at the time of the operation's launch.
"Texas supports legal immigration but will not be an accomplice to the open border policies that cause, rather than prevent, a humanitarian crisis in our state and endanger the lives of Texans. We will surge the resources and law enforcement personnel needed to confront this crisis."
The U.S. recorded its highest number of drug overdose deaths in a 12-month period, eclipsing 100,000 for the first time, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
There were an estimated 100,306 drug deaths in the 12 months running through April, the latest CDC data show. This marks a nearly 29% rise from the deaths recorded in the same period a year earlier, indicating the U.S. is heading for another full-year record after drug deaths soared during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Jon Kamp contributed to this report.