In Case You Missed It: Local Stories and Officials Continue to Focus on Fentanyl Flowing into U.S. in 2020
In Wisconsin, over two dozen people were charged for their participation in trafficking large amounts of cocaine, heroin and fentanyl from Puerto Rico to Milwaukee through the postal system. While the exact amount of cocaine that came into Milwaukee through the mail is unknown, prosecutors suspect it could have been as much as hundreds of pounds. The criminal complaint states that when the drugs didn’t arrive as expected, suspects called the U.S. Postal Service with tracking numbers to inquire about their packages. Matthew Krueger, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, said “Drug traffickers should not think the U.S. mail is a safe way to distribute their poison, and we’ll be aggressive in building cases against people who use the mail to distribute drugs.”
In an op-ed focused on combatting the opioid crisis this year, Jim McCormick, Commissioner of Lewis and Clark County, Montana, warned that “fentanyl can even be shipped directly to the United States through the U.S. Postal Service,” calling on elected officials to “utilize all available resources to prevent these dangerous drugs from continuing to harm our communities.”
And in Florida, Marin County Sheriff William Snyder echoed the same concerns, noting that “fentanyl has become easily obtainable because it’s being mailed in packages through the U.S. Postal Service,” resulting in a trend of overdoses that have grown into an “absolute public safety nightmare.”
One national solution that would help these local officials combat the flow of fentanyl around the country is enforcing the Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act. Passed by Congress and signed into law in October 2018, the STOP Act requires the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to properly provide Customs and Border Protection with the advance electronic data (AED) needed to screen international packages for fentanyl and other dangerous materials. This basic information on packages is already required for international shipments sent through private carriers. The USPS was required to have AED on 100 percent of packages from China and 70 percent of international packages overall by December 2018. However, over one year later, these major deadlines have not yet been met, and critical reports to Congress on compliance and progress are not public.
Americans for Securing All Packages calls on the federal agencies responsible for enforcing the STOP Act to follow through on AED compliance now and ensure all packages are safe, and for Congress to exercise its oversight responsibilities to ensure the law is enforced and save lives. For inquiries and interviews with ASAP Senior Advisor Juliette Kayyem, please email ASAP@skdknick.com.