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Sen. Heinrich Asks FBI Director about Fentanyl and the Budget

Senator Martin Heinrich Questioning FBI Director and a
Senator Martin Heinrich Questioning FBI Director and a Appropriations Subcommittee

During a hearing to review the FY25 Budget Request for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich of New Mexico asked FBI Director Christopher Wray about how the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act has helped law enforcement reduce gun violence, tackling the skyrocketing rise of ghost guns, and combating the flow of illicit fentanyl within the U.S.

“We made some progress recently with the FEND Off Fentanyl Act that was really designed to prevent fentanyl from getting inside the United States in the first place, but you have to deal with it when it’s already here. You mentioned funding and the potential impact that the budget could have on your ability to disrupt that flow. Feel free to reiterate the importance of that, and then also touch on other tools you may need to address the sort of crisis that we are seeing in communities all across the country.”

FBI Director Cristopher Wray responded.

“So we are finding most of the fentanyl that we see at the FBI is fentanyl that’s already here in the United States. And what we’re finding is that something like 70% of it is coming up in violent gang takedowns. So that shows you kind of firsthand the nexus between the fentanyl problem and the violent crime problem and some of the most dangerous offenders. It is not unusual for the FBI in any given field office to seize enough fentanyl in one takedown to have wiped out an entire state. And so if you start thinking about the impact of the cuts that we’ve been talking about in this hearing, that’s fewer seizures, that’s more pills on the market, that’s more people dying. I mean, just to put it as bluntly as that, and that’s just looking at it that way. Of course, we also have all these investigations into cartel leadership, and again, the cuts impact that if we’re going to be serious about going after the cartels. I know in your home state, in Albuquerque, I just remembered off the top of my head, there was a great takedown that they did, where they were seizing enough fentanyl to wipe out an entire state, along with, again, back to the nexus with violence, along with hand grenades, ballistic vests, you know, the whole nine yards. So, the fentanyl problem and the violent crime problem are inextricably linked, and, of course, the fentanyl problem is directly tied to the problems from the other side of the border.”

Senator Heinrich responded.

“So, not a great time to cut his budget.”

Shantar Baxter Clinton is the hourly News Reporter for KSFR. He’s earned an Associates of the Arts from Bard College at Simons Rock and a Bachelors in journalism with a minor in anthropology from the University of Maine.