"Your drug dealer today is your mailman," Holman said. "If your kids are getting any packages in the mail whatsoever, you need to know what that is."
Fentanyl and other synthetic narcotics like U-47700, which was found in Garrett Holman's system, are now streaming into the U.S. through international parcels delivered by the U.S. Postal Service and private carriers like United Parcel Service Inc. and FedEx Corp., according to authorities. The deliveries are helping fuel an opioid crisis that claims tens of thousands of U.S. lives each year, prodding congressional lawmakers to propose tougher rules and new resources to try to stop the flow.
Seizures of fentanyl arriving by both international mail and express carriers reached nearly 37 kilograms in the U.S. overall in fiscal 2016, compared with 0.09 kilogram five years earlier, according to Customs and Border Protection data.
While Mexican drug cartels usually transport synthetic opioids like fentanyl in bulk by land across the southern U.S. border, many American dealers and users use the mail to receive smaller supplies of the drugs, officials say. In the past year, authorities have arrested such alleged dealers in cities including Cincinnati, Salt Lake City and Kearny, N.J.
Mail and private express services are “attractive options for smugglers,” said Salvatore Ingrassia, acting assistant director for trade and cargo at CBP’s New York field office. He said there has been a “significant increase” in synthetic opioids arriving in packages.
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