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Governor Brad Little and Idaho State Police speak on US-Mexico border

From 2020 to 2021, the Idaho State Police Forensic Lab has seen more than a 562% increase in the amount of fentanyl
Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 4:12 PM MDT
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JEROME, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — Governor Brad Little joined members of Idaho State Police to share their experience visiting America’s southern border, and discuss how activities in that region impact Idaho.

“From 2020 to 2021, the Idaho State Police Forensic Lab has seen more than a 562% increase in the amount of fentanyl,” said Idaho Police Sergeant Curt Sproat.

As KMVT previously reported, the Drug Enforcement Administration issued an alert last month warning Americans of a sharp increase in counterfeit pills containing fentanyl. Both Little and Sproat spoke of these pills being visible both at the US-Mexico border and in Idaho.

During the briefing, Little spoke of his recent first-hand experience at the border, which included taking a boat tour of the Rio Grande River alongside Texas Department of Public Safety agents.

“We went up the Rio Grande river and on one side were these great big mansions that were the second, third or fourth homes for a drug cartel,” Little said. “On the American side of the border was chaos.”

Sproat was part of a 21-day mission to assist the Arizona Department of Public Safety with drug-related work at the border. He was sent with four other troopers to the US-Mexico border in Arizona for nearly three weeks last July, during which they were granted full law enforcement authority.

“We saw a huge amount of fentanyl, the counterfeit pills and meth flooding into the United States,” Sproat said. “In the past, drug smugglers were bringing in bundles of marijuana. Now, they’ve transitioned to bundles of meth into the U.S.”

Sproat added some of the people troopers came into contact with had very extensive and violent crime histories, including homicide.

According to the Idaho State Police, over 19,000 pills were seized by ISP in 2020, which is significantly less than the 125,000 pills they have seized thus far this year.

Little said he learned from his experience that cartels have complete control of the border, and they run an incredibly organized operation.

He added some have questioned why a state like Idaho — located in the Pacific Northwest — should be concerned about Mexico’s border with the United States.

Little responded to those critiques by saying the current crisis at the border affects all states. He added Idaho’s growing meth and fentanyl drug issue is a direct consequence of the current loose border with Mexico.

A point of emphasis from Little during Monday’s discussion was the organization of the drug cartels in Mexico.

“They are totally driven by profit,” said Little. “They have no humanitarian aspect to what they do and when the profit margin for these pills, these pill mills went up, that’s what they’re doing.”

Little reiterated he and 25 other Governors have released a joint policy framework on the border crisis made up of 10 U.S. Mexico border policy solutions that the Biden administration could enact immediately via executive orders, and he said the time to act is now.

“Believe me, they’re [the Biden Administration] getting pressure from California, Mexico, Texas, Arizona — all those states that are seeing the magnitude of the problem,” Little said. “They’re saying what you’ve been doing for the last six months, eight months has not been working. We’ve got to do something different.”

KMVT will update this story shortly.

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