McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — Even though drug seizures are at the lowest levels in four years, the amount of fentanyl stopped at the border continues to skyrocket, new federal data shows.

The total amount of drugs, by weight, intercepted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in December increased by 17.5% from November, CBP reports.

This includes:

  • 52% increase in fentanyl seizures.
  • 32% increase in cocaine seizures.
  • 1% increase in heroin seized.

There also was a decrease of 4% in methamphetamines seized in December.

Still, drug seizures have been gradually increasing since the start of the fiscal year by CBP officers at ports, Border Patrol agents patrolling in between ports and Air and Marine Operations agents.

This includes nearly $900,000 worth of drugs seized in two incidents in the past few days at the port of entry in Eagle Pass, Texas, CBP reports.

(CBP Graphic)

But the total amounts of drugs seized in December — 42,100 pounds — were the lowest, by weight, seized in a December month since before 2020 when officers and agents seized 92,500 pounds, according to CBP data.

Nevertheless, it shows a persistent trend by drug cartel and transnational criminal organizations that continue to traffic drugs across the Southwest border, particularly deadly fentanyl.

So far in Fiscal Year 2023, which began in October, 9,400 pounds of fentanyl have been seized. That is over half of the total 14,700 pounds of fentanyl seized in all of Fiscal Year 2022, according to CBP data. This also is a 241% increase in fentanyl seizures from the first three months of Fiscal 2022.

Stopping the flow of fentanyl across the border has been an objective of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s Operation Lone Star state-funded border security initiative.

“Operation Lone Star continues to fill the dangerous gaps left by the Biden Administration’s refusal to secure the border. Every individual who is apprehended or arrested and every ounce of drugs seized would have otherwise made their way into communities across Texas and the nation due to President Biden’s open border policies,” the governor’s office said in a statement Friday — the same day that CBP released its monthly operational statistics for December.

In November, Abbott ordered the heads of the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Military Department to expand border security efforts, which include building a state-funded border wall and positioning thousands of Texas National Guard and Texas DPS troopers along the border.

“The number of drug traffickers and human traffickers you have arrested is astonishing. The wave of fentanyl and criminals you have stopped from entering the United States by way of the border is shocking. I thank you for the unprecedented work your Guardsmen and Troopers have done on Operation Lone Star. This work must continue and now be expanded upon,” Abbott wrote Nov. 16 to DPS Director Col. Steve McCraw and Mayor General Thomas Suelzer.

On Friday, CBP officers in Eagle Pass found 4.7 pounds of cocaine concealed with a quarter panel of a car at the Eagle Pass port of entry. The car had been traveling south to Mexico and the narcotics had an estimated street value of $62,993, CPB reports.

CBP officers in Eagle Pass, Texas, seized nearly 14 puns of fentanyl on Sunday, Jan. 20 at the port of entry. (Sandra Sanchez/Border Report File Photo)

On Sunday, CBP officers referred a vehicle at the Eagle Pass port of entry for secondary inspection after being flagged by a canine unit. They said officers discovered 13.8 pounds of fentanyl, 13.8 pounds of heroin, 16.5 pounds of cocaine within the torque converter and brake booster of a 2021 Nissan Rogue car. The drugs had an estimated street value of $835,023, CBP reports.

“Officers at the Eagle Pass Port of Entry have heightened their narcotics interdiction and border security posture to combat drug smuggling attempts,” Acting Port Director Michael Martinez of the Eagle Pass Port of Entry, said in a statement. “Through targeted and proactive law enforcement activity, CBP employees help dismantle trafficking organizations and prevent their illicit products from entering the U.S.”

Sandra Sanchez can be reached at Ssanchez@borderreport.com