Law enforcement discusses ways to combat national crisis on Fentanyl Awareness Day

No community is a stranger to the devastating impacts of the opioid crisis and now, more than ever, fentanyl.

The Georgia Department of Public Health reports a 232% increase in fentanyl-involved deaths from 2019 to 2021.

On “Fentanyl Awareness Day”, Channel 2 Action News takes you to the southern border where we’ve been following fentanyl smuggling from the start.

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In 2019, Channel 2′s investigative reporter Mark Winne rode on horseback at the Mexico border and with the DEA in a surveillance plane.

To see how the fentanyl pipeline goes from the southern border and into metro Atlanta.

The DEA explained in the beginning most of the black market fentanyl came to the U.S. straight from China.

Then cartels started making it in labs there, just as they made massive amounts of meth with chemicals shipped from China for years.

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From the air, agents showed Channel 2 Action News one route a smuggler might take.

Fast forward to now, Channel 2’s Blair Miller recently visited the border to see the challenges law enforcement still faces and how it’s changed.

They told him more fentanyl is coming in through Arizona than any other state in the country.

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A backup of cars as far as the eye can see with people coming into America. Each one faces questions and scrutiny.

The officers, dogs, random x-rays of entire cars, all of it’s being used to try and curb the fentanyl crisis in America. They showed us the tactics being used.

In January, officers found, 19,000 fentanyl pills taped to the legs of a person trying to get it into the U.S.

They say it’s also not uncommon to find pills hidden inside car parts. Such as the 200,000 fentanyl pills and two pounds of fentanyl powder concealed inside the back seat of a vehicle.

While the focus is largely on what comes into this country, officers say the cartels are usually eager for what comes back.

While agents are busy catching drugs at the border, the United States Postal Service is now a major force in stopping drug trafficking. They intercept illegal drugs, typically purchased on the dark web.

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