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Canadian Fentanyl Labs Pose Threats To The U.S.

At a rural site outside Vancouver, Canadian police found 2.5 million doses of fentanyl and 528 gallons of chemicals in a shipping container and a storage unit in October. Six months earlier, they raided a home in a Vancouver subdivision packed with barrels of fentanyl-making chemicals, glassware and lab equipment. Thousands of miles away near Toronto, police in August found what is believed to be the largest fentanyl lab in Canada, hidden 30 miles from the U.S. border at Niagara Falls, N.Y. There is little indication that Canadian-made fentanyl is being smuggled south in large quantities, but as record numbers are dying from overdoses in the U.S., the spread of clandestine fentanyl labs in Canada has the potential to undermine U.S. enforcement efforts and worsen the opioid epidemic in both nations, reports the Washington Post.The Canadian labs are producing fentanyl for domestic users and for export to Australia, New Zealand and the U.S.

Philip Heard, commander of the police organized crime unit in Vancouver, a city hard-hit by fentanyl overdose deaths, said,. “Most police leaders I’ve spoken to believe our production outstrips what our domestic demand is.” U.S. efforts to combat fentanyl are focused on the southern border with Mexico. U.S. Customs and Border Protection has installed $800 million worth of powerful scanning and detection equipment at land border crossings since 2019. Nearly all that technology has been deployed along the U.S. southern border, where CBP confiscated nearly 27,000 pounds of fentanyl during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, the most ever.

Republican lawmakers have called for U.S. military strikes in Mexico targeting fentanyl traffickers and drug labs. The spread of fentanyl production in Canada suggests traffickers there are poised to benefit if Mexican suppliers are squeezed. The lightly-patrolled U.S.-Canada border spans 5,500 miles — the longest international boundary between two nations in the world — and has few physical barriers.


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