In Case You Missed It: Senate Hearing Details Shocking Year-Long Investigation Showing Massive Drug Pipeline in the Mail from Foreign Countries
Trafficking of Deadly Opioids through the Mail is Focus of U.S. Senate Hearing and New Investigative Report
Washington, D.C. – At a hearing of the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI), government officials and U.S. senators detailed the alarming findings of a new PSI report that provides additional evidence on major security gaps in the global postal system that are regularly exploited by drug traffickers and other foreign bad actors. While packages sent via private carriers must include accurate vital advanced electronic data (AED), packages shipped via foreign postal services do not require the same information. Of the nearly half billion packages the United States Postal Service (USPS) received from foreign posts over the last year alone, more than 300 million, or 64 percent, did not include this crucial AED. The AED provided was also found to be low quality. As a result, the study found that online drug traffickers prefer and recommend the use of the USPS for shipping synthetic opioids and other illegal drugs.
In case you missed it, highlights from the hearing and from the response to the report are included below.
“Last year, the postal service only received advance electronic data on about 36 percent of the more than 498 million international packages coming into our country. So about 500 million packages a year, and only about 36 percent of them have the advance electronic data that allows law enforcement to identify these suspicious packages. This means that about 318 million packages came here with no data.” – Senator Rob Portman (R-OH)
“I think this is the 3rd of 4th time we’ve been talking about this, and I have to tell you, this investigation reminds us that we’re not doing everything with a sense of urgency that we need to do. And so I recognize that you’re all working really hard on this, that you all want to see success, but we have to be more urgent about this. We can build a 20-billion-dollar wall, but if we don’t solve this problem, we will not have solved the problem of interdicting drugs.” – Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)
“There are growing calls to crack down on the delivery of illegal opioids by international mail. U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized more than 180 pounds of fentanyl last year – a new record. But a newly-released Senate report says that’s only a fraction of what may be arriving. It found that the volume of international mail has more than doubled in recent years, overwhelming screeners. The U.S. Postal Service is supposed to work with Customs and Border Protection. But Portman said they struggle with poor coordination and volume.” – CBS This Morning
“Several senators on Thursday lambasted federal agencies for their lack of ‘urgency’ in preventing shipments of the powerful drug fentanyl from entering the U.S.” – The Washington Examiner
“Officials from the Postal Service, State Department, Customs and Border Protection and Drug Enforcement Administration acknowledged the tracking data could help them isolate suspicious shipments before they arrive. Law enforcement could then order the parcels held for inspection on arrival in this country, and use the data for further investigation when illegal shipments are found some other way.” – Cleveland.com
“Law enforcement is overwhelmed by the amount of deadly synthetic drugs, like fentanyl, that flood into our community do to the lack of screening through our international mail system with the postal service. We need to close the loophole!” – National Fraternal Order of Police