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‘It’s Only Picking Up’: Northern Border Agents Are Grappling With A ‘Wave’ Of Illicit Drugs

Border Patrol agents are seeing an increasing surge of illicit drugs coming across the northern border, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) statistics and two agents who spoke with the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Border Patrol agents have already seized 1,500 pounds of drugs at the northern border between October 2022 and February 2023, surpassing the 1,300 pounds seized in all of fiscal year 2022, according to CBP data. Agents are not only dealing with a surge in drugs, but also an influx of illegal migrants.

Border Patrol encountered an 846% surge of migrants into the U.S. in the Swanton sector in parts of New York, Vermont and New Hampshire in January. Residents in the area who spoke with the DCNF in March feared for their safety as groups of illegal migrants traversed their property, broke into their vehicles and knocked on their doors.

“The influx of illegals from the southern border, along with the lack of border enforcement, has created a wave of fentanyl in an area that never had much of either. Overdoses are more and more common and it’s only picking up,” one northern border patrol agent, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly, told the DCNF.

Border Patrol seizures take place between ports of entry, where it is more challenging to detect. Whereas Office of Field Operations (OFO) seizures take place at ports of entry, mainly through vehicle inspections.

“We have less agents in the field today than we did a few years ago, and we’re catching more than that’s can be attributed straight to the administration’s lack of border security.,” National Border Patrol Council President Sean Walsh told the DCNF.

Roughly 2,000 agents patrol the entire stretch of 5,525 miles of the northern border, Republican New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, whose district encompasses parts of New York’s border with Canada, recently said in a statement.

“These surges in border encounters and drug smuggling coupled with a shortage of Border Patrol agents and lack of security measures place America’s northern border at serious risk. As winter turns to spring, we are deeply concerned the northern Border Patrol agents will be even more overwhelmed, under-resourced, and under-manned,” Stefanik wrote to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in March.

Agents in Algonac, Michigan, recently seized 38 pounds of ecstasy pills, Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz said Wednesday. Authorities made the seizure after chasing two suspects, one U.S. citizen and one Canadian citizen that was previously removed from the U.S., by foot.

“[The uptick is] most likely because smugglers believe we’re too occupied stuck in processing centers to actually stop their attempts, but we’ve increased our Border Patrol Processing Coordinator numbers, which has allowed more of our agents to return to the field and actually catch stuff,” a second northern border agent, who also requested anonymity because they didn’t have permission to speak publicly, told the DCNF.

“It was probably getting through all along, but now that we’re out there again, slowly but surely we’re starting to catch it,” the second agent said.

CBP didn’t respond to a request for comment.

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