WASHINGTON, DC – On February 10, Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11) cosponsored the Fentanyl Trafficker Elimination Act, legislation that holds fentanyl smugglers accountable for their role in the United States’ opioid epidemic, as well as the Halt All Lethal Trafficking of Fentanyl Act that would permanently schedule fentanyl analogs increasing criminal penalties, and the Public Safety Enhancement Act of 2021 that would reauthorize Title I of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 and provide grant funding to law enforcement to reverse the rise in drug overdose deaths. On February 18, 2022, the emergency class-wide scheduling order for fentanyl-related substances is set to expire.
Specifically, the Fentanyl Trafficker Elimination Act would establish mandatory life in prison sentences for drug smugglers who knowingly and intentionally traffic drugs with detectable amounts of fentanyl.
“Drug cartels and traffickers are more emboldened than ever before, and we’re seeing record numbers of young people fall victim to fentanyl as a result,” Congresswoman Malliotakis said. “If someone fatally shoots or stabs someone, they are likely to receive a life sentence – why is the standard not the same for killing someone with fentanyl? Murderers pedaling and lacing other drugs with poison must be held accountable and prevented from ever killing another person again. Without consequences, drug traffickers and dealers will only continue to prey on Americans.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United States experienced an estimated 101,263 drug overdose deaths between June 2020 and June 2021, the highest number ever recorded in a 12-month period. Fentanyl and synthetic opioids accounted for roughly two-thirds of these deaths, with the majority of the fatalities among Americans ages 18 to 45.
Additionally, a new government report detailed how Mexico and China have become “dominant sources” for the United States’ fentanyl and synthetic opioid supply. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, 70% to 80% of all fentanyl in the U.S. first crosses the southern California border with Mexico. Malliotakis is also cosponsoring the Border Security for America Act that will secure our borders, improve U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) staffing and provide technology and tools to help stop nefarious activities like drug trafficking at our southern border.