The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) have stepped up their war on illegal drug production and distribution in a bid to prevent the next wave of black market heroin from emerging in the US.
The DEA has deployed a team of agents to cities around the country, and at least two state legislatures are considering bills that would allow for the forfeiture of assets suspected of being used to manufacture or distribute the drug.
The federal government says it has confiscated more than 5 million dollars worth of property linked to heroin manufacturing and distribution, and the DEA estimates that more than 30,000 properties have been seized in a single year.
But the seizures aren’t limited to US states.
At least three states have banned the sale of drugs that are produced and distributed in other countries, and states such as Nevada and Texas have banned certain drugs.
The Trump administration, in its first major crackdown on drug trafficking, has said it wants to put an end to illegal drug exports to the US by taking over facilities where drug cartels manufacture and distribute the drugs.
“The United States must stop the flow of narcotics into our country, destroy the cartels that support the drug trade, and dismantle the cartels once and for all,” said the Trump administration in a statement on Monday.
“This must include ending the use of fentanyl and heroin, as well as other illicit drugs such as cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine, and heroin.”
We will not allow our citizens to be forced to buy drugs they do not want, but rather they must choose to buy from legal and safe sources,” it added.
The US has spent billions of dollars on anti-drug efforts in recent years, and a recent report by the US Office of National Drug Control Policy found that the US has lost more than $9bn in illegal drug profits since 2013.
According to the DEA, its enforcement efforts have netted about $1.5bn in cash, seized drugs, seized contraband, and arrested more than 600 traffickers since the beginning of the year.
The Justice Department said it has also seized more than 700,000 kilograms of heroin, cocaine, fentanyl and other illegal drugs from US dealers since the start of the fiscal year.”
And the DEA will continue to seize and destroy illicit drugs wherever they may be found.”