The Department of Homeland Security says its new fentanyl targeting operation has already seized 900 pounds of the drug in its first week.
"Operation Blue Lotus," a targeted operation that involves more stops and the use of advanced technology along the border, started on March 13. The operation has led to 18 seizures, 16 federal arrests and two state arrests, according to DHS. Those seizures prevented over 900 pounds of fentanyl, 700 pounds of methamphetamines and 100 pounds of cocaine from entering the United States through last Sunday.
"Operation Blue Lotus is a DHS-led, coordinated surge effort to curtail the flow of illicit fentanyl smuggled into the United States from Mexico and bring to justice the dangerous criminal organizations profiting from the illegal production, distribution, and sale of this dangerous substance," DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said after meeting with CBP agents along the border on Tuesday.
As part of the operation, additional Homeland Security Investigations agents were deployed and CBP’s Forward Operating Labs at Points of Entry conduct "real-time analysis of unknown substances."
Fentanyl has killed on average 100,000 Americans each year, according to the Center for Disease Control.
Mayorkas has been in the hot seat from congressional Republicans about how the administration has handled the border, with several lawmakers repeatedly saying they want to impeach him over the issue.
He is set to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week.