The amount of fentanyl seized by the United States in May from those attempting to smuggle the drug across the U.S.-Mexico border has more than tripled since last year, according to statistics released by Customs and Border Protection.
The agency’s data show that last month roughly 951 pounds of fentanyl were seized by officers, up from the 240 pounds in May last year, according to The Epoch Times.
The amount of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid attributed to the increase in overdose deaths from opioids in the U.S., apprehended by officers at the southern border has been rising over the last year. In January of 2021, officials seized 945 pounds in February, 799 pounds, 660 pounds in March, and 886 pounds in April.
Fentanyl has previously been mixed with other drugs like heroin to boost the “high.” Still, it is now often pressed into small blue tablets to mimic the color and look of oxycodone pills, another drug contributing to the growing opioid epidemic.
The rise in fentanyl confiscations comes amid a recent spike in illegal immigration and apprehension in 2021. In May, the Border Patrol made 180,034 apprehensions, the highest total number in 21 years.