Says countering China-origin fentanyl and precursors should be first and foremost in terms of U.S. priorities
WASHINGTON—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who is leading a delegation of Tennessee law enforcement and mayors to the southern border this week, today pressed the State Department on what percentage of the fentanyl coming across the border ultimately originates in China. Hagerty expressed shock when the deputy assistant secretary did not have an answer.
“This drug epidemic that’s killing tens of thousands of Americans is becoming a national security crisis here in America, and I’d like to know, Secretary Hannan, specifically what percent of the drugs coming across the border include fentanyl coming from China,” Senator Hagerty asked.
The Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Policy, Planning, and Coordination for the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs Kerri Hannan responded to Hagerty that she did not have the number in hand and could not say if the State Department had this data.
“Given the fact that this is a war being waged by the Chinese Communist Party through Mexico on our youth, I think the State Department ought to have this data at its fingertips,” Hagerty replied. “I’m shocked that you don’t have a ready answer for this given the magnitude of the problem. This should be first and foremost in terms of your priorities. It certainly is in mine.”
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, drug overdoses and deaths are now exceeding 100,000 Americans annually. Mexico remains a major transit and production point.