(NewsNation) — Law enforcement officials have issued a stark warning to Congress, revealing that members of violent cartels are now living in all 50 states.
Jon DeLena, a Drug Enforcement Administration special agent with 27 years of experience, told members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday that the current drug crisis is unlike anything he has ever seen.
“The Sinaloa and Jalisco cartels pose the greatest criminal drug threat the United States has ever faced,” he said. “These ruthless, violent and criminal organizations have associates, facilitators and brokers in all 50 states as well as in more than 40 countries around the world.”
In 2022 alone the DEA says it seized more than 50 million fake pills and 10,000 pounds of fentanyl powder. Approximately 379 million deadly doses of fentanyl have been taken off American streets.
“It’s not effectively managed right now and until it is, the cartels are the, they’re the winners of this,” said Mark Dannels, sheriff in Cochise County, Arizona.
The Sinaloa cartel is one of the oldest drug-trafficking organizations in Mexico. It typically smuggles drugs into the us through crossing points in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, reaching distribution hubs in Phoenix, Los Angeles, Denver and Chicago.
The Jalisco cartel, based in Guadalajara, uses trafficking corridors going towards distribution hubs in LA, Seattle, Charlotte, North Carolina, Chicago and Atlanta.
Republicans are pushing the Biden administration to do more to stop the flow of fentanyl into American communities
“Every community is now a border community,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said.
Last month, President Joe Biden met with Mexico’s president to try and crack down on the cartels, promising big action to fight drug traffickers and shut down drug labs.
The cartels aren’t just smuggling drugs — they’re trafficking children, men, and women for profit. One sheriff called it “modern day slavery.”