The states represented in the letter include Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.
The authors called it an “unorthodox solution that may help abate or at least slow the crisis’s [sic] trajectory.”
Pointing to the amount of fentanyl confiscated by American law enforcement, the attorneys general suggested there may be homicidal intent behind the uptick in fentanyl trafficking.
“Indeed, given fentanyl’s lethality, the amounts being interdicted and seized are inconsistent with what one would expect from drug trafficking activity and are indicative of either purposeful conspiracy to murder Americans or an effort to stockpile a dangerous chemical weapon,” they wrote.
The letter added that fentanyl is an “ideal choice for bad actors to use as a chemical weapon” and that “the threat of a state enemy using this drug to do harm to the American people cannot be understated.”
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), border guards seized 10,600 pounds of fentanyl from October 2021 through July 2022. The agency reported confiscating 11,200 pounds of the drug during the entire Fiscal Year 2021. Two milligrams of fentanyl can be enough to kill a person, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.
The State of Texas has seized enough fentanyl to cause 340.5 million deadly overdoses since the beginning of the border security measures via Operation Lone Star, according to a news release published Friday, September 9 by Gov. Greg Abbott’s office.
Abbott and the Texas Department of Public Safety warned the public in May of last year about the alarming spike in fentanyl trafficking. In July 2021, the governor signed legislation by Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston) increasing the penalties for the manufacture and distribution of the illegal drug.
Last week, Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn announced a record seizure of 2,000 grams of fentanyl, which amounts to one million deadly overdoses.
In their letter, the attorneys general cited the example of a 13-year-old boy found dead in his home in Connecticut with 100 bags of fentanyl in his bedroom. It is one anecdote among numerous examples of adolescents dying from fentanyl intoxication, including several reported deaths of high school students in Hays County.
“We must not sit idly by until a terrorist chooses to inflict harm using this substance on a large group of Americans — our countrymen are already dying from this poison. We cannot wait for tragedy to strike when proactive steps can be taken now to preserve American lives. We urge you [to] take immediate and decisive action and declare fentanyl a weapon of mass destruction,” the attorneys general wrote.
Paxton faces Democrat Rochelle Garza in the general election on November 8. Garza’s campaign website does not mention fentanyl, though the candidate states her support for legalizing marijuana and criticizes Paxton’s “wasteful border enforcement efforts.”
“As Texas Attorney General, I will put a stop to Governor Abbott’s border wall and his ‘Operation Lone Star,’ which unconstitutionally deployed Texas National Guard members to the border,” Garza says on her website.
Libertarian Mark Ash is also on the ballot.
A copy of the letter can be found below.
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- Bill Waybourn
- Greg Abbott
- Joan Huffman
- Ken Paxton
- Mark Ash
- New Hampshire
- Operation Lone Star
- Rochelle Garza
- South Carolina
- Tarrant County
- Texas Department of Public Safety
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection
- West Virginia
Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."