(CNSNews.com) -- A new documentary entitled Not in Vein illustrates how Mexican drug cartels smuggle billions of dollars’ worth of opioids through the southern border of the United States, drugs that eventually end up killing thousands of Americans every year.
According to Fox News contributor and investigative journalist Sara Carter, who co-produced and narrated Not in Vein, the opioid epidemic “is a real national security crisis, which is why we have to secure the southern border.”
In 2017, President Donald Trump declared the opioid crisis a national Public Health Emergency. Former Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Special Operations Division head Derek Maltz told CNSNews.com that the U.S. is “losing one person every 11 minutes” to opioids.
Maltz added that 90 percent of these drugs come into America through the southwestern border. Many are laced with fentanyl, an extremely potent synthetic drug that cartels mix into heroin and other street drugs because it is cheap.
Two milligrams of fentanyl, an amount the size of four grains of salt, can kill an adult.
According to Carter, the crisis claims 115 lives each day.
“We’re losing a generation to this epidemic,” she says.
Christopher Farrell, director of Investigations and Research at Judicial Watch, says the cartels do not care about the death toll.
“They don’t care, because the cartels are interested in making billions of dollars, and, in order to make that money, they have to control the points of access into the United States across the entire southwestern border,” he says in the documentary.
The cartels have developed “very sophisticated techniques” to smuggle drugs into the U.S., such as encrypted communications, electronic compartments in cars and drones that drop improvised explosive devices (IEDs) on people, according to Maltz. And unlike U.S. law enforcement, cartels are not limited by budget or policy constraints, making them even more dangerous.
“They have no budget, they have no laws, they have no financial constraints, they have no policies, they have no bureaucracy,” Maltz told CNSNews.com. “They have one marching order. That is to make money.”
As a result, it is difficult for law enforcement to combat the cartels. Patricia Cramer, the Arizona Chapter President of the National Treasury Employees Union, says the cartels are “beating” law enforcement.
“They have all the money in the world and all the technology and the manpower in the world to beat us, and that’s exactly what they’re doing,” she says in the film.
Law enforcement is crippled by its limited resources.
“A lot of resources are being diverted to things that are not necessarily watching the border,” Maltz said. “They’re preoccupied with babysitting, with taking care of families and trying to do the right thing, unlike what certain press is reporting about their activities.”
The Mexican drug cartels essentially control parts of the southern United States.
Marcia Armendariz, who works for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, says her station is located within the “territory” of the Sinaloa Cartel. The cartel watches her station’s every move.
“We are at what we call a point of disadvantage because Mexico does have the higher ground,” Armendariz says.
Jim Chilton, an Arizona rancher, has to carry a rifle and pistol on his own property because cartel operatives move through it “all the time,” he says.
“It’s an everyday risk we all run, of getting shot,” Chilton says. “I’ve run into situations where you have guys with AK-47s.”
Farrell argues that strengthening the southern border is necessary to combat the cartels.
“Here’s my solution: a one-sentence order to the Department of Defense. Secure the southern border of the United States. Declare the cartels to be foreign terrorist organizations, FTOs,” Farrell says.
Maltz concurred, pointing out that “if you look at what the drug cartels are actually doing, it really isn’t over-the-top dramatic” to classify them as terrorist organizations.
“They’re kidnapping people, they’re killing people, they’re executing people, they’re using chainsaws, they’re throwing body parts in the streets, they’re taking body parts and throwing them in trees; it’s like a warzone,” Maltz said.
He referenced the “Stew Maker,” a Sinaloa Cartel hitman who dissolved hundreds of victims’ bodies in acid to dispose of them, and pointed out that Mexico broke its own record of violence in 2017, with over 29,000 people murdered and record numbers of people reported missing.
“When they’re declared to be what they are, terrorist organizations, you give the Mexican government a choice,” Farrell says in the film. “They can cooperate and get on board and help us to fight them as what they are, terrorist organizations, or we can do it ourselves.”
Carter told CNSNews.com that Not in Vein seeks to “draw attention” to the crisis, which, she said, affects “all of us.”
“If you think it won’t affect you, you’re wearing blinders. Because it eventually will,” Carter said.
To learn more about the documentary, click here.