Gov. Gavin Newsom is increasing the number of California National Guard members deployed to the border to stem a worrisome surge of smuggled drugs — particularly fentanyl — from Mexico.
On Thursday, Newsom announced that the number of CalGuard members stationed at ports of entry would increase by about 50% – from 40 to 60.
“Fentanyl is a deadly poison that tears families and communities apart.” Newsom said in a statement.
“California is toughing out – and today we are taking it a step further by deploying more CalGuard soldiers to combat this crisis and protect our communities.”
The added CalGuard members will also help U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers with X-rays and secondary inspections of vehicles crossing the border, according to Newsom’s statement.
Previously, Newsom expanded CalGuard activities – resulting in a whopping 594% increase in the amount of fentanyl seized in the state.
According to Maj. Gen. Matthew Beevers of the California Department of the Army, officials estimate that about 65% of U.S. drug shipments enter the country through the California border. the Los Angeles Times reported.
At a news conference Wednesday, Beevers praised CalGuard for “some extraordinarily successful operations over the last year.”
In 2022, 28,765 pounds of fentanyl were seized by law enforcement in California; Since July 1, CalGuard has helped seize over 11,760 pounds of fentanyl this year.
The anti-drug program receives $26 million from the federal government and $15 million from the state budget – a whopping $41 million allocated to the drug crisis.
“We recognize that this is a unique challenge for California, and I think the governor’s additional $15 million really speaks to meeting that challenge,” Beevers said.
The CalGuard staffing increase is scheduled to begin Thursday.
The Golden State has long been affected by drug smuggling across the border from Mexico.
Areas in Northern California in particular have seen an increased influx of illegal drugs in recent years – including in cities like Oakland and San Francisco, where drug markets and drug tourism have made the area “unlivable” for many.
San Francisco has also seen a “tidal wave” of fatal overdoses in recent months. The latest data shows that fentanyl caused 62 of 71 OD deaths last month. The latest figures were released on the same day a report concluded that “City Hall is failing its citizens.”
The overdose numbers have put San Francisco on track to break the record of 712 deaths due to ODs in 2020.