WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – Attorney General Merrick Garland announced a major operation to disrupt fentanyl trafficking from Mexico Friday.
“The United States government is using every tool at its disposal to combat the fentanyl epidemic,” Garland said.
The DOJ says the Sinaloa Cartel makes the drug using chemicals from China, and sells them in the U.S., mixed with other drugs or as counterfeit pain medications.
“Many Americans are unaware that they are purchasing and being poisoned by fentanyl,” Garland said.
The new effort is part of the Biden administration’s broader fight against fentanyl traffickers.
“Cracking down on the supply is a multi-faceted endeavor,” Deputy Homeland Security Advisor Josh Geltzer said.
The administration wants to hurt the supply chain by working with banks here and abroad to go after the drug makers’ financial accounts.
“Ultimately what people want to do off this is profit from it, and if we can disrupt that, we’re getting at a key piece of that,” Geltzer said.
The administration is also partnering with shipping carriers to cut off access to illicit substances.
“It is limiting the extent to which law enforcement has to monitor a wide set of possible venues and transportation channels,” Brookings Institute Foreign Policy Senior Fellow Vanda Felbab-Brown said.
Felbab-Brown said these tactics will also support the U.S. in its related diplomatic efforts.
“To point out the failures of the government in Mexico; the limitations, the failures of the government in China,” Felbab-Brown said.
The President is also asking Congress to permanently classify fentanyl as a Schedule I drug.