In response to Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s call to arms in support of Operation Lone Star, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin has called up 100 Virginia National Guardsmen in order to help secure the southern border with Mexico.
“Lack of action at the federal level has made every state a border state,” said Virginia House Speaker Todd Gilbert. “I commend and support Governor Youngkin’s actions today in the strongest possible terms. The fentanyl crisis that claims an average of five Virginians lives every day has its roots at the southern border.”
The 30-day temporary deployment will join National Guardsmen from other states including Idaho, Nebraska, and Florida in assisting Texas law enforcement and National Guard units in providing both humanitarian aid and deter further illegal crossings.
The secondary mission — fighting illegal drug smuggling across the US border — is focused on the trafficking of fentanyl, a drug that 10 years ago was primarily manufactured and smuggled into the United States from China, but is now increasingly being manufactured and trafficked into the United States by Mexican cartels who buy the components and mix the narcotic with other illicit and illegal drugs.
Last year more than 11,000 pounds of fentanyl made its way into the U.S. and more than half of it came right through the border of Mexico and San Diego, according to investigators. That was more than double the amount of fentanyl seized at the border compared to 2020, investigators said.
“What you’re seeing now is something that was never possible when fentanyl was coming from China. And that is a coverage of fentanyl all across this country,” Sam Quinones, the author of “Dreamland” and “Least of Us,” which chronicled the country’s opioid crisis, told ABC News.
Virginia House Republicans have sought to combat the introduction of fentanyl since retaking the majority, voting to punish drug dealers who peddle death. Senate Democrats have repeatedly blocked such legislation as part of their decriminalization efforts.
“Drug cartels smuggle their lethal poison into our country among the thousands of migrants who are trafficked across the border every day,” said Gilbert. “In the meantime, House Republicans will continue our efforts to hold those who peddle fentanyl accountable for the lives they take.”