(CNSNews.com) – To combat the nation’s opioid epidemic, President-elect Donald Trump and Attorney General-nominee Jeff Sessions need to “clean house” and fire corrupt U.S. government officials who knowingly allow Mexican drug cartels to smuggle vast quantities of heroin over the border, says Christopher Farrell, director of investigations and research at Judicial Watch.
These Mexican cartels “threaten more lives on a daily basis right now than any other foreign terrorist threat” including ISIS, Farrell said.
“ISIS only dreams of exacting the human casualties the Mexican cartels achieve, despite decades of the ‘War on Drugs’,” the former military intelligence officer wrote in an op-ed for Fox News.
Last week, The Washington Post reported that the latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that for the first time ever, more Americans died from heroin overdoses (12,989) in 2015 than from homicides involving firearms (12,979).
In September, New York's Organized Crime Task Force seized more than 33 kilograms of heroin (72 pounds) valued at $13 million, the largest drug bust in the unit's 46-year history. Officials said that "a sophisticated distribution ring" moved the drugs - which were laced with chicken anesthetic, nail polish remover and roach killer - from Mexico into Tucson, Arizona and then transported them as far north as Massachusetts.
But Farrell says that “the dirty little secret” about the nation’s opioid epidemic is that it is “leveraged by corrupt public officials” who either turn a blind eye as the cartels smuggle truckloads of heroin into the U.S. or actively help them distribute their deadly product to every corner of the nation.
“The incidence of opiate addiction and overdose and death has skyrocketed in the last eight to ten years. So much so that even in the last two to three years, we’ve seen a jump in overdose deaths of between 12,000 and 18,000 people a year,” he said, noting that the death toll was six times higher than the number of Americans killed on Sept. 11, 2001.
Heroin use is not limited to low-income residents of the nation’s inner cities or barrios along the border, Farrell pointed out. “This is in every community in this country, every zipcode, regardless of race, creed, color, ethnic origin, level of education, Yale to jail, it doesn’t matter."
Heroin has surpassed cocaine and methamphetamine as the top illegal drug of choice in the U.S. Breitbart reported that mobile drug dealers are now using the “pizza-delivery model” to deliver heroin directly to their customers’ homes and places of business.
Heroin destined for the U.S. “starts out in the poppy fields in the southwest corner of the Mexican state of Chihuahua, which is run principally by the Sinaloa cartel,” Farrell explained.
“Those drugs come across our border into the United States at a massive rate and scale. And the only reason they get across that border is because of corruption in law enforcement. And it happens at the municipal level, the state level and the federal level,” he continued.
On Wednesday, Sgt. Julian Prezas, an Army recruiter in San Antonio, Texas pleaded guilty to having three servicemen act as “straw buyers” to purchase dozens of assault rifles for the Gulf Cartel. All three soldiers pleaded guilty to making false statements on federal firearms forms.
“There’s such a high degree of corruption in law enforcement and among politicians and other public officials that this war on drugs we’re fighting is really against ourselves,” Farrell said.
He added that the Mexican drug cartels’ business model is so sophisticated that they have brought in advisers from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and Iraq to not only share their expertise on poppy cultivation, but also to train members of the cartels on how to shoot down Mexican Army helicopters.
“None of this is news to people in law enforcement, or the intelligence world, or the armed forces. Even the diplomatic community. None of what I’m saying is news. They all know this,” Farrell said.
“They know it in the form of the El Paso Intelligence Center or EPIC in the far western corner of Texas next to New Mexico,” he continued. “All the intelligence agencies are there. And all this drug trafficking goes on right under their nose, literally.
“El Paso has been a smuggling city for a couple hundred years. It’s literally El Paso de Norte, the way north, the passage north. And El Paso is a place where literally tractor-trailer loads of heroin enter the United States, and their distribution network is frighteningly effective,” Farrell said.