Texas sheriff says fentanyl should be classified as weapon of mass destruction

Mexican cartels continue to supply most of the fentanyl coming into U.S. after getting precursors from China.

Updated: September 11, 2022 - 6:53am

Montgomery County Sheriff Rand Henderson says the illicit drug fentanyl that’s pouring into Texas through the southern border should be labeled as a "weapon of mass destruction."

He told Fox News, “fentanyl is poison that’s being introduced to our country. The illicit manufacturing of this stuff has just gotten crazy with the potency of it. The deception by the drug dealers to mix it in to the pressed pills trying to sell it as a legal drug that’s a prescription medication.

”It only takes 2 milligrams of this stuff to kill you and we’re finding twice, sometimes three times the amount of fentanyl in a pill that’s not supposed to contain any fentanyl,” he added.

“Believe it or not, drug dealers will lie to you. There is no quality control standard. It is truly a weapon of mass destruction that's killing our population.”

Mexican transnational criminal organizations continue to supply most of the fentanyl (as well as cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin) smuggled into the U.S., Texas law enforcement officials, the DEA, and other agencies say.

Fentanyl precursors are often first shipped from China to Mexican ports. Cartel workers make fake opioid pills or lace other narcotics with them and then transport them into the U.S. primarily through the southern border.

Popular pills now flooding the market are rainbow colored and look like candy. They are often stamped with an “M” and used to appeal to children, law enforcement officials warn.

"I thought I would never see anything worse than methamphetamines, which has been a horrible scourge on our population,” Henderson said. “But this is taking it to a new level, and it's truly a poison.”

Henderson called for the drug to be labeled a weapon of mass destruction after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott recently announced new initiatives being launched to combat the opioid crisis in Montgomery County. It also came after Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody called on the Biden administration to designate fentanyl as a weapon of mass destruction.

According to Department of Homeland Security, a WMD “is a nuclear, radiological, chemical, biological or other device that is intended to harm a large number of people.”

Since February 2021, CBP agents have seized more than 16,800 pounds of fentanyl at the southern border, enough to kill the entire U.S. population more than 11 times over, Moody says.

Fentanyl is the leading cause of death of adults in the U.S. between the ages of 18 and 45. In 2020, 77% of all teen overdose deaths involved fentanyl, according to a study published by JAMA.

Two milligrams, the weight of a mosquito, is lethal. A teaspoon holds about 5,000 milligrams, enough to kill 2,500 people. One pound of fentanyl, or 453,592 milligrams, could kill 226,796 people.

Moody sent a letter to President Joe Biden in July demanding that he take immediate action to stop the fentanyl crisis in America. She has yet to hear back.

She argues the Biden administration has “done little to abate this American tragedy” and many of the president’s policies “have exacerbated the death toll” caused by fentanyl “making it across our southern border.”

The federal government “already works to disrupt the supply chains of other chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear weapons,” she argues. “It’s not hard to imagine that similar tactics could be used to reduce the flow of illicit fentanyl into the U.S. through cartels in Mexico – and save countless American lives.”

The president has issued recommendations to Congress to reduce the supply and availability of fentanyl and issued an executive order imposing sanctions on foreign nationals involved in the global illicit drug trade in the U.S.

His administration also proposed dedicating “$10.7 billion to expand access to substance use prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and recovery support services” and permanently added illicitly manufactured fentanyl-related substances as a Schedule I controlled substance under the Controlled Substance Act.

Abbott says he supports new legislation to be considered in the next legislative session that would increase criminal penalties for dealers, including charging them with murder if they sell drugs laced with fentanyl and other deadly opioids that lead to the death of user.

"The Biden Administration's open border policies have opened the floodgates for this deadly drug to make its way into our communities, but we are taking action to stop this epidemic,” Abbott said when he signed a bill into law last year increasing penalties for the manufacture and distribution of fentanyl in Texas. “By cracking down on the manufacturing and distribution of fentanyl, we will help save lives here in Texas and across America."