Moody sounds alarm over illicit fentanyl coming in from Mexico

(The Center Square) – Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody again sounded the alarm Thursday over illicit fentanyl flooding into the state from Mexico.

She was joined by Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Mark Glass and Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods to discuss Florida’s efforts to combat it.

Moody said law enforcement in Florida are identifying drugs that have ended up in Florida directly linked to Mexican cartels. The border crisis “is an untenable situation,” she said, “one in which America has never had to face until the last few years.”

She said she was “very happy” that the U.S. House impeached Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas this week, after she’s repeatedly call on Congress to do so. Ultimately, she argued, blame for the border crisis lies with President Joe Biden, saying it’s his responsibility to stop the flow of illicit fentanyl into the U.S. from Mexico.

“The responsibility lies with the president to control fentanyl supply at the border and keep our states safe. If we secure the border, Florida will be much better off,” she said.

Moody also announced new statewide drug death data on Thursday from the 2022 Florida Medical Examiners’ Drugs in Deceased Persons annual report.

According to the report, the most frequently found drug in the deceased was fentanyl (6,230) and fentanyl caused the most deaths – 5,622 in 2022.

Medical examiners distinguished between drugs that were determined to be the cause of death and drugs that were present in the body at the time of death, according to the report.

These numbers are not exhaustive but are derived from a sample of 15,592 deaths state medical examiners identified that were determined to be drug related. That number was roughly half of 35,429 deaths investigated by state medical examiners, out of more than 242,595 deaths that occurred in 2022, according to the report.

The report also notes that deaths caused by fentanyl analogs increased by 42% from the previous year.

Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods said, “fentanyl is coming across the border every single day.” In the last three years in his county, he said, there had been 221 fentanyl-related deaths. This year there have already been 11.

“We are never going to arrest our way out of this,” Woods said, adding that interdiction and preventative efforts require multi-agency and public and private partnerships. “We have to partner together on the state level,” he said, “with individuals because it is not a law enforcement issue, it’s a societal issue.”

A drug unit including his deputies and Ocala Police Department officers recently seized four pounds of fentanyl, he said, enough to kill 900,000 people. Marion County Fire Rescue last year transported 1,400 people for emergency care who overdosed in addition to the calls his deputies responded to, he said.

Mexican cartels “who don’t care about your loved ones” are costing taxpayers, he said. “They only care about making money.”

FDLE Commissioner Mark Glass said when he went to the U.S.-Mexico border, he saw a factory in Mexico that manufactures fentanyl pills overseen by Mexican drug cartels. The pills are then smuggled into the U.S. and make their way to Florida.

“We are all on the frontlines of this national crisis, even in Florida. But with the support of Attorney General Ashley Moody, we are doing everything we can to protect our Florida communities,” he said.

Their announcement came after Florida law enforcement officials have seized enough fentanyl in multiple operations to kill Florida’s entire population, and as Texas law enforcement officials have seized enough fentanyl to kill the entire populations of the United States and Canada, The Center Square has reported.

It also comes after CBP agents seized enough fentanyl to kill nearly 5 billion people in the first two fiscal years of the Biden administration, and after U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents seized more than 386 million lethal doses of fentanyl last year – the most in a single year in agency history.

Moody is encouraging Floridians to use free resources through her office’s One Pill Can Kill and Dose of Reality websites.

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