The Sinaloa Cartel, once headed by notorious kingpin “El Chapo,” and others in Mexico are targeting Alaska communities with drug pipelines, adding to the overdose death toll, according to a new investigative report from the Louisville Courier Journal.
It’s difficult to reach much of the state, so there are fewer criminal networks competing for customers in Alaska, which means drug traffickers can triple or quadruple their price and net much larger profits, the report says.
“All the drug dealers are aware they can make more money selling drugs in Alaska,” said James Klugman, head of federal criminal prosecutions for Alaska’s U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Fentanyl and other illegal narcotics have saturated urban centers of Anchorage, as well as Juneau and Fairbanks. “From those main hubs, shipments are dispersed far and wide, stretching from tiny islands off the southern coast all the way up to the Arctic region, according to state and federal police,” reporter Beth Warren has written, having spent weeks in Alaska working on the story.
Recently, the city of Haines reported two deaths from fentynal within a short time span, illustrating the problem small towns are now having with illegal drugs coming in faster than law enforcement can handle.
Drug cartels have moved in as the state has also loosened regulations on marijuana. This month, Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom signed regulations that allow the state’s legal marijuana businesses to advertise more widely and to distribute free samples of marijuana at their retail outlets, adding to the culture of drug consumption that pervades many communities.
Sen. Dan Sullivan issued a reaction to the newspaper report, and he puts the blame squarely on President Joe Biden.
“I just read an article in the Courier Journal entitled Targeting the Last Frontier. Mexican Cartels Send Drugs into Alaska Upping Death Toll. This is, first of all, incredibly sad. Our fellow Alaskans dying because of Mexican cartels and fentanyl. And it’s infuriating. Infuriating. The FBI says the vast majority of the fentanyl coming in to Alaska is from Mexican cartels,” Sullivan said.
“We have a Mexican cartel invasion in Alaska and the rest of the country. Damn it. Mr. President, do your job. Secure the border. Damn it, Secretary Mayorkas. Secure the border. That’s your job. We are trying to make sure there’s not going to be a government shutdown. We have an amendment on the Senate floor that we’re working right now to help secure the border, to get the Biden administration of finally do their job,” Sullivan said on a video on Facebook.
“Mr. President, quit making sure the Democrats block it, Let them vote for it. This is what America needs. It’s going to help us keep our government open. But we need to secure the border. Alaskans and Americans are dying, and you’re responsible,” the senator said.