Governor Abbott Highlights Texas’ Efforts To Crack Down On Fentanyl
Governor Greg Abbott today held a press conference in Fort Worth where he highlighted the state's efforts to secure the border and stop the trafficking of fentanyl into Texas. In response to an unprecedented surge in fentanyl coming across the border, the Governor announced his intention to sign Senate Bill 768 (Huffman/Johnson) that will create a specific criminal offense, beginning with a third degree felony, for the manufacturing or delivery of fentanyl.
The Governor pointed to President Biden's open border policies as a cause behind the surge in fentanyl, and urged the President to address this crisis and secure the border. Governor Abbott called upon parents to educate their children about the potentially deadly consequences of taking fentanyl, or unknowingly taking other drugs laced with fentanyl.
"Lives are at stake as dangerous drugs like fentanyl pour into our communities at an astonishing rate, and we must act now to crack down on this proliferation of this deadly drug," said Governor Abbott. "From Tarrant County to Lubbock County, fentanyl is wreaking havoc in our communities and it is essential for parents, family members, schools, and more to get fully engaged to prevent future fentanyl deaths. President Biden's open border policies have led to a surge in this deadly drug coming into our communities. We must do more to combat this crisis, which is why I intend to sign legislation that will create a specific felony offense for the manufacturing or delivery of fentanyl."
The Governor was joined for the press conference by Colonel Steve McCraw, Texas Department of Public Safety Director, Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn, and Mansfield Police Chief Tracy Aaron.
According to the Tarrant County Sheriff's Department, fentanyl seizures within the county increase from 59.2 grams in 2020 to 137 grams so far in 2021 — a 130% increase thus far this year. Between January 2021 and April 2021, Tarrant County experienced 60 suspected fatal overdoses of fentanyl — which puts the county on a path to have a 50% increase in fentanyl deaths over the year.
In the first four months of 2021, the Texas Department of Public Safety seized nearly 95 pounds, or 21.5 million lethal doses, of fentanyl in Texas. Compared to last year, DPS seized only 11 pounds over the first four months of 2020.
On March 6th, Governor Abbott announced Operation Lone Star to send law enforcement personnel and resources to high threat areas along the border. On March 17th, he expanded the Operation to include anti-human trafficking efforts. The Governor has also sent letters to President Biden and Vice President and Border Czar Kamala Harris demanding that the federal government take action to secure the border.