WASHINGTON – U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner Troy A. Miller issued the following statement today on the results of a two-month Department of Homeland Security operation, ending on May 8, that targeted fentanyl smuggling along the southwest border of the U.S. and led to more than 100 arrests and the seizure of more than 4,700 pounds of fentanyl:
“Thanks to the tremendous efforts of our CBP officers and agents, and in collaboration with HSI and other partners, Operation Blue Lotus prevented thousands of pounds of fentanyl and other dangerous drugs from entering the United States and making their way into our communities. This multi-agency effort is a model of how law enforcement partnerships can drive aggressive action to disrupt drug trafficking, take the fight to smugglers, and protect our communities against the scourge of fentanyl.
“Through targeted inspections at border crossings in California and Arizona and the leveraging of advanced analytics and intelligence capabilities, more than 4,700 pounds of fentanyl, more than 4,600 pounds of methamphetamine, more than 1,050 pounds of cocaine, and more than 72 pounds of heroin were seized – leading to more than 250 arrests by CBP and HSI. The U.S. Border Patrol ran a complementary operation between ports of entry and at checkpoints near the border, leading to the seizures of an additional 1,060 pounds of fentanyl, 3,400 pounds of methamphetamine, 270 pounds of marijuana, 380 pounds of cocaine, and 26 pounds of heroin.
“Our officers and agents stand on the front line preventing dangerous drugs from entering our communities. Over the past several weeks, through Operation Blue Lotus, they found fentanyl hidden inside of car doors, gas tanks, batteries, and spare tires. They pulled packages of narcotics from the center consoles of vehicles, car floors, dashboards, firewalls, and inside of the seats. Pedestrians attempting to smuggle fentanyl across the border in backpacks, and strapped to their bodies, were caught. We deployed cutting-edge technology to conduct real-time analysis of unknown substances, enabling our personnel to target, identify, and examine unknown powders, pills, and substances for hard narcotics, precursor chemicals, and components associated with manufacturing or processing of synthetic drugs. Critically, this operation leveraged advanced analytics and intelligence capabilities across DHS, including the deployment of HSI personnel alongside CBP officers at ports of entry, allowing immediate pursuit of investigations and unprecedented awareness of illicit networks.
“These successful operations are part of our ongoing work to interdict fentanyl. CBP’s fentanyl seizures have increased more than 400 percent since fiscal year 2019; fiscal year 2023 seizures of fentanyl have already surpassed the fiscal year 2022 seizure total. Our efforts to keep dangerous drugs out of our communities continues in full force: detecting and seizing shipments, disrupting smuggling networks, and taking action against those producing this deadly poison. We are investing in additional personnel, technology, and other resources along the southwest border to detect and seize fentanyl and bring smugglers to justice.”