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Murphy calls for investments in technology, diplomacy to curb drug and gun trafficking

AGNES BUN/AFP via Getty Images
"The Faces of Fentanyl" wall, as of July 13, 2022, displays photos of Americans who died from a fentanyl overdose. It's at the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) headquarters in Arlington, Virginia.

U.S. Sen, Chris Murphy from Connecticut recently returned from a visit to Colombia and Mexico, where he discussed the "vicious cycle" of drug and weapons trafficking across the U.S.–Mexico border.

“There is a vicious cycle of guns moving south and drugs moving north,” Murphy said.

Drug overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death in Connecticut, and 86% of overdoses involve fentanyl, a synthetic opioid.

Murphy, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, said that Congress has authorized $700 million for new technology to help identify fentanyl at the border but that only 10% of it has been used. He added that most of the fentanyl seized by the U.S. government arrives at the border through legal ports of entry.

He also called on the Biden administration to work with the Chinese government to crack down on the illegal export of ingredients used to produce fentanyl.

Murphy said he plans to propose additional investment in X-ray and thermal scanning technology that could help detect drugs and firearms in vehicles moving south. Experts say that a large portion of the firearms in Mexico come from the United States.

“Physical inspections were never going to be the solution,” Murphy said. “If you inspected rigorously every single car or truck that shows up at the border, you would stop commerce between the United States and Mexico. But the non-intrusive inspections allow you to inspect every single vehicle while allowing traffic to move relatively freely.”

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