The 2,000 grams of pure fentanyl were seized by the TCSO Combined Narcotics Enforcement Team (CNET) along with the SWAT Team and Fort Worth Police Tactical Medics when they executed a search warrant on a Tarrant County residence.
The large stash is capable of one million fatal doses according to a TCSO press statement. Tarrant County is home to about two million residents.
Along with the fentanyl, CNET also seized four firearms, three vehicles, and $48,000 in cash. One suspect was also arrested.
Sheriff Bill Waybourn said of the seizure, “I am very proud of our team for their hard work in taking over 1 million fatal doses of fentanyl off the streets, but the question that keeps me up at night is, ‘How much have we missed?’”
When asked by The Texan if he believes border security issues contributed to this large stash of fentanyl reaching Tarrant County, Waybourn said, “I absolutely believe the large amount of fentanyl came from the border. The border is open and the influx of illegal narcotics into the United States continues to increase because of it.”
Phil Sorrells, the Republican candidate for Tarrant County District Attorney, commented, “Biden’s reckless border policies are allowing these drugs into our country. I am thankful for the work of our law enforcement agencies involved in this seizure. They are risking their lives to protect us against such a deadly threat.”
He added that if elected, “The citizens of Tarrant County can rest assured that I will do everything in my power to make sure those responsible will be held accountable.”
Democratic candidate for district attorney Tiffany Burks told The Texan in an email, “The distribution of fentanyl in Tarrant County is a problem that requires a collaborative effort between the [district attorney]’s office and law enforcement. We know that much of the fentanyl distribution is from Mexico.”
“Therefore one of my first priorities once elected is to bring back a narcotics unit within the [district attorney]’s office that was dismantled in 2015 and fully staff the gang unit, which was also minimized in 2015. The presence of a narcotics unit and gang unit will allow us to closely work with law-enforcement in identifying and fully prosecuting those who distribute narcotics in our community,” Burks continued.
In May 2021, Waybourn joined Gov. Greg Abbott and representatives from the Texas Department of Public Safety to inform the public about the border crisis and increased fentanyl trafficking.
According to Waybourn at last year’s update, the availability of fentanyl has mushroomed and the price has dropped from $50 to $20 per gram in Tarrant County. He emphasized that fentanyl overdoses were a “clear and present danger” to the state.
“We’re headed right now for a 50 percent increase in overdoses in Tarrant County alone,” Waybourn said.
According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection statistics as of August 3, over 10,100 pounds of fentanyl have been seized this year in the southwest border region. During the entirety of 2021, 10,600 pounds were seized in the region.
Last year, the Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 768 by Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston), which enhanced the punishment for the manufacture and delivery of fentanyl. According to the law which became effective in September 2021, possession of over 400 grams of fentanyl is punishable by a life sentence or a sentence of between 20 and 99 years and a fine not to exceed $500,000.
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Kim Roberts is a regional reporter for the Texan in the DFW metroplex area where she has lived for over twenty years. She has a Juris Doctor from Baylor University Law School and a Bachelor's in government from Angelo State University. In her free time, Kim home schools her daughter and coaches high school extemporaneous speaking and apologetics. She has been happily married to her husband for 23 years, has three wonderful children, and two dogs.