Sheriff Rick Staly told a pre-dawn national television audience early Wednesday morning that Flagler County has had 12 deaths from drug overdoses so far this year, and that seizures of fentanyl, by volume, are up 275 percent so far this year, “the first five months compared to all of last year so there’s a huge wave coming of fentanyl,” he said. “Frankly, it’s already here.”
Staly was appearing on Fox and Friends First, the 4 a.m. to 6 a.m. lead-in show to Fox and Friends. The show is hosted by Carley Shimkus, in a segment that began with a large graphic calling it “Biden’s Border Crisis.”
Fox is not a friendly zone for the president, but NBC has called it “Immigration Border Crisis” or “Southern Border Crisis,” and Biden’s own administration refers to it as a “Border Crisis,” as the U.S. Customs and Border Protection department does in a briefing entitled “CBP’s Response,” an item last modified in January, but referring to numbers during the Trump administration, when the surge across the border became pronounced.
“Nationwide, CBP’s apprehensions for [fiscal year] 2019 totaled 1,148,000, more than 970,000 along the Southwest Border alone,” CBP Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan is quoted as saying. “This is a staggering 88 percent higher than the fiscal year 2018. These are numbers that no immigration system in the world can handle, not even this country.”
CBP’s more recent figures, in a monthly report released last week, indicate that “there were 239,416 encounters along the southwest land border in May, a 2 percent increase compared to April.” Annualized, that would translate to more than 2.5 million encounters. Of those, 25 percent of the apprehended individuals had at least one prior encounter in the previous 12 months, and 69 percent were single adults (a 2 percent decrease from April).
“Well, the border is completely out of control,” Staly said on the show, referring to his trip to the border. (See: “Crisis at the Border: Sheriff Staly’s On-the-Ground Report on a ‘Failed Immigration Policy’ Affecting All Communities.”)
“The border patrol is probably the most demoralized law enforcement agency I’ve seen in my career and I’ve been doing this 47 years,” he said. “They’re basically just paper pushers at this point. They don’t have the staff to be able to interdict the drugs that are coming across the border that are being smuggled by the mules. It was definitely eye opening.”
The May report indicates a nationwide drug-seizure decline, month-over-month–22 percent for cocaine, 23 percent for methamphetamines, 29 percent for heroin, 12 percent for fentanyl. A seizure decline is not necessarily an indication of declining smuggling, as it could also reflect either savvier operations among smugglers or less emphasis on seizures among the border patrol. The figures have also reflected seasonal seesaws. (See the fuller numbers here.)
Staly was focused on fentanyl. “It doesn’t matter if if you’re a border town or city or not, because the border is coming to you, to every city every county in America,” he said, repeating a theme hen developed in his report back from the border last year.
Drug overdoses are all investigated as homicides at first, until ruled otherwise. “I’ve got four poison peddlers that are in state prison now for selling that lethal dose,” the sheriff said. “What we want the public to know, and especially the addicts that are using this stuff, they’re always looking for the best high that they can get unless they’re treated and can come off of it. They’re basically playing Russian roulette.”
The Centers for Disease Control reports that fentanyl “is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine.”
It’s finding its way into other drugs, including marijuana. “You just never know when you get that fatal dose,” Staly said at the end of the three-minute segment.