By SDCN Editor
San Ysidro, CA–Governor Gavin Newsom is cracking down on illegal drugs — including fentanyl — being smuggled into California.
Newsom will increase the number of California National Guard service members deployed to interdict drugs at four U.S. ports of entry along the border by approximately 50%.
Building on the state’s $1 billion investment to tackle the fentanyl and opioid crisis, the governor will increase the National Guard from 40 to 60 soldiers.
Newsom’s expansion enables the soldiers to further support U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) narcotic search operations, including through the operation of a vehicle X-ray system used for detecting the transportation and concealment of narcotics.
The increased deployment builds on Newsom’s prior expansion of the National Guard-supported operations that last year led to a 594% increase in seized fentanyl in the state. Last year, the guard’s efforts helped law enforcement seize 28,765 lbs of fentanyl in California, an amount with an estimated street value of more than $230 million.
“Fentanyl is a deadly poison ripping families and communities apart. California is cracking down — and we’re going further by deploying more CalGuard service members to combat this crisis and keep our communities safe,” Gov. Newsom said.
Over 150 Americans die every day from overdoses and poisonings related to synthetic opioids like fentanyl. As part of Newsom’s Master Plan for Tackling the Fentanyl and Opioid Crisis, CalGuard is supporting federal, state, and local law enforcement counter-narcotic investigations and operations through analytics, reconnaissance, and interdiction efforts.
As of July 1, the National Guard helped seize over 11,760 lbs of fentanyl so far this year. The additional service members being deployed will support the guard’s existing partnership with CBP to interdict illegal drugs and develop informational analysis on organized criminal activity.
The guard’s statewide efforts are funded through a $30 million investment proposed by the governor and enacted in the state budget to expand the department’s existing drug interdiction efforts and deepen integration and support to High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas programs.
A majority of fentanyl is smuggled into the U.S. at ports of entry by U.S. citizens, not by migrants seeking asylum, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
Since 2019, Newsom has invested over $1 billion to crack down on opioid trafficking and enforce the law, combat overdoses, support those with opioid use disorder, and raise awareness about the dangers of opioids. The governor’s Master Plan for Tackling the Fentanyl and Opioid Crisis provides a comprehensive framework to deepen the impact of these investments — including through a CalRx effort where California will allocate $30 million to support partners in developing, manufacturing, procuring, and/or distributing a naloxone nasal product under the CalRx label.