Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom is increasing the number of California National Guard members stationed along the border in an effort to stem the flow of illicit narcotics from Mexico, particularly fentanyl.
Thursday, Newsom announced that the number of CalGuard members stationed at ports of entry would increase by roughly fifty percent, from forty to sixty, according to a report by the New York Post.
The California Drug Problem
According to Maj. Gen. Matthew Beevers of the California Military Department, approximately 65 percent of the United States' narcotics supply enters the country through the state of California, as reported by the Los Angeles Times.
At a Wednesday news conference, Beevers praised CalGuard for having "some extraordinary successful operations in this last year."
In 2022, law enforcement in California seized 28,765 pounds of fentanyl; as of July 1, CalGuard has aided in seizing over 11,760 pounds of fentanyl this year.
The anti-drug program is funded by the federal government with $26 million and the state budget adding $15 million to the project, totaling $41 million allocated to cope with the drug crisis.
From Newsom's Office
“Fentanyl is a deadly poison ripping families and communities apart. California is cracking down — and today we’re going further by deploying more CalGuard service members to combat this crisis and keep our communities safe," Newsom said, according to a press release from his office.
The governor's office asserted that over 150 Americans die every day from overdoses and poisonings involving synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.
The newly deployed service members will bolster CalGuard's existing partnership with CBP to interdict illicit drugs and conduct intelligence analysis on organized criminal activity.
Newsom proposed -- and the state legislature approved -- a $30 million investment to expand the department's existing drug interdiction efforts and enhance integration and support to High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) programs. This investment funds CalGuard's statewide efforts.
The governor's office was clear, however, in asserting that illegal immigration was not at issue here.
Newsom's office asserted that according to the Department of Homeland Security, the preponderance of fentanyl is smuggled into the United States at ports of entry by U.S. citizens, not asylum-seekers.