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Legal Goods Tracked in Illegal Drug Trade

U.S. Customs and Border Protection recently unveiled a comprehensive strategy to target the legal materials used by traffickers in the production of fentanyl and other synthetic drugs. The agency aims to use data-driven intelligence to disrupt the supply chain for the illegal contraband, including the postal service and air carriers, to identify and intercept suspicious goods along potential transit routes.

Troy Miller is the acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, and recently emphasized the evolving nature of the trade, which has recently included air cargo from Asia and sophisticated concealment methods. He said, “These criminals are sophisticated, innovative, and relentless. But so are our efforts to stop them.”

The initiative will target not only the drugs themselves, but any legal materials that can be used in their manufacture, distribution, or sales, such as necessary chemical elements and compounds, or the molds and presses used to create pills.

This is part of a larger strategy to intensify efforts to combat the ongoing drug crisis. This includes recent indictments and sanctions against Chinese companies implicated in the illicit importation of chemicals to produce fentanyl. Acknowledging China and Mexico as primary sources of fentanyl trafficking, the DEA continues to grapple with the challenge posed by these global supply chains, often masked by deceptive labeling and false return addresses.

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