Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) is cracking down on Mexican drug cartels operating in the state, designating them as terrorists.
The governor said in a news conference from Midland that fentanyl is a clandestine killer and Texans are victimized by cartels that produce and import it.
“Cartels are terrorists and it’s time we started treating them that way,” Abbott said.
The governor signed an executive order Wednesday classifying Mexican cartels as terrorists in the state of Texas. Abbott said he also sent a letter to President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris demanding they do the same on the federal level.
Abbott’s order also directed the Texas Department of Public Safety to identify gangs in Texas that are helping cartels, seize their assets, disrupt networks and make arrests. He’s also calling on other agencies to educate the public about the danger of the drug and that even one pill can kill.
Abbott said most fentanyl deaths are accidental and occur after cartels add the drug to other drugs like pain killers, stimulants, or anti-anxiety medications.
The governor said enough fentanyl has been seized at the border to kill every man, woman, and child in the state and that there’s enough of the drug estimated to be on the street to kill every American.
The governor said fentanyl overdoses are on the rise and that, if reelected in November, he’s also planning on putting the crisis on the 2023 legislative agenda.
“We will be working this next session to re-classify fentanyl overdoses as fentanyl poisoning,” Abbott said. “We’ll be looking to elevate to murder the charge of anyone who knowingly provides fentanyl to someone who loses their life because of it.”
WHAT IS FENTANYL?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. Just two milligrams of fentanyl, which is equal to 10-15 grains of table salt, is considered a lethal dose.
Without laboratory testing, there is no way to know how much fentanyl is concentrated in a pill or powder. If you encounter fentanyl in any form, do not handle it and call 911 immediately.
Fentanyl remains the deadliest drug threat facing this country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 107,622 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2021, with 66% of those deaths related to synthetic opioids like fentanyl.
Drug poisonings are the leading killer of Americans between the ages of 18 and 45. Fentanyl available in the United States is primarily supplied by two criminal drug networks, the Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG).
WHAT IS RAINBOW FENTANYL?
In August 2022 the Drug Enforcement Administration issued a public advisory about the alarming emerging trend of colorful fentanyl available nationwide.
Brightly-colored fentanyl, dubbed “rainbow fentanyl” in the media, is being seized in multiple forms, including pills, powder, and blocks that resembles sidewalk chalk.
“Rainbow fentanyl—fentanyl pills and powder that come in a variety of bright colors, shapes, and sizes—is a deliberate effort by drug traffickers to drive addiction amongst kids and young adults,” said DEA Administrator Anne Milgram. “The men and women of the DEA are relentlessly working to stop the trafficking of rainbow fentanyl and defeat the Mexican drug cartels that are responsible for the vast majority of the fentanyl that is being trafficked in the United States.”
Despite claims that certain colors may be more potent than others, there is no indication through DEA’s laboratory testing that this is the case. The DEA said every color, shape, and size of fentanyl should be considered extremely dangerous.
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