The Governor was joined at the DPS Waco Regional Laboratory by Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steve McCraw and McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara, as well as Senator Brian Birdwell, Representative Doc Anderson, DPS Chief of the Crime Laboratory Division Brady Mills, Captain Cody Blossman of the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office, Assistant Waco Police Chief Frank Gentsch, and DPS Forensic Scientist Lindsay Hatfield.
“Fentanyl is killing innocent Texans, with well over a thousand lives lost from communities across our state due to the pervasiveness of deadly synthetic opioids,” said Governor Abbott. “This clandestine killer is produced and distributed by Mexican drug cartels, which cunningly disguise fentanyl to look like legitimate prescription medications, and even candy to appeal to children. Fentanyl is the single deadliest drug our nation has ever encountered, and it’s a byproduct of President Biden’s open border policies. Texas is taking action by seizing enough fentanyl to kill every man, woman, and child in America, but we must all do our part to combat this deadly scourge.”
In addition to the statewide “One Pill Kills” campaign, Governor Abbott announced new laws to be considered next legislative session that would classify fentanyl as a poisoning, allow charging an individual for murder if they distribute fentanyl or drugs laced with fentanyl that kill someone, and make NARCAN more readily available across the state for Texans exposed to fentanyl.
Last month, Governor Abbott directed state agency leaders to ramp up efforts to respond to the crisis, including coordinating efforts to raise awareness of fentanyl’s lethality and prevalence. The Governor also designated Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations and instructed DPS to take immediate action to keep Texans safe amid the national crisis. Governor Abbott sent a letter to President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris requesting a federal terrorist designation for producing and distributing deadly fentanyl.
Last year, almost 1,700 Texans lost their lives because of fentanyl. Fentanyl is the number one cause of death in Americans between the ages of 18 and 45, with more than 75,000 Americans dying as a result of fentanyl-related poisonings from February 2021 to February 2022. In the past year, Texas law enforcement alone has seized over 342 million lethal doses of fentanyl—enough to kill every man, woman, and child in the United States.
Governor Abbott has taken significant action to secure the border in the wake of the federal government’s inaction. Those actions include:
- Securing $4 billion in funding for Texas’ border security efforts
- Launching Operation Lone Star and deploying thousands of Texas National Guard soldiers and Texas Department of Public Safety troopers
- Taking aggressive action to secure the border, including busing thousands of migrants to Washington, D.C., New York City, and Chicago
- Arresting and jailing criminals trespassing or committing other state crimes along the southern border
- Issuing an executive order authorizing the Texas National Guard and Texas Department of Public Safety to return illegal immigrants to the border at ports of entry
- Allocating resources that include acquiring 1,700 unused steel panels to build the border wall in Texas
- Signing a law to make it easier to prosecute smugglers bringing people into Texas
- Signing 15 laws cracking down on human trafficking in Texas
- Signing a law enhancing penalties for the manufacturing and distribution of fentanyl
- Issuing a disaster declaration for the border crisis
- Issuing an executive order preventing non-governmental entities from transporting illegal immigrants
- Signing memoranda of understanding between the State of Texas and the States of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to enhance border security measures that will prevent illegal immigration from Mexico to Texas
- Activating the Joint Border Security Operations Center (JBSOC) and directing the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Military Department, and Texas Division of Emergency Management to coordinate Texas’ response to secure the border
- Creating DPS strike teams and establishing new vehicle inspection checkpoints targeting semi-trucks and other commercial motor vehicles