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Voters By Wide Margins Want US Troops To Fight Mexico's Fentanyl-Smuggling Cartels, A Dailymail.Com Poll Shows, Bolstering Trump's Pledge To Deploy 'Special Forces' Over The Border

Nearly 110,000 people in US died from drug overdoses last year, mostly fentanyl.

MEXICO DRUGS VIOLENCE GUZMAN ARREST. Soldiers stand guard next to a vehicle of the Army destroyed during the operation to arrest Ovidio Guzman, aka "El Raton" (The Mouse), son of jailed drug trafficker Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, is seen in the Jesus Maria area in Culiacan, Sinaloa State, Mexico, on January 7, 2023, where Ovidio Guzman was arrested on January 5. - Ten soldiers and 19 suspected criminals were killed in an operation to arrest Ovidio Guzman, with a dramatic shootout sowing terror at an airport. Thousands of soldiers retook control of the Sinaloa cartel stronghold of Culiacan, which resembled a war zone, after furious gunmen went on the rampage to try to free their boss. Guzman was captured and flown to Mexico City before being transferred to the high-security Altiplano prison in central Mexico, "El Chapo" once escaped. Photo by JUAN CARLOS CRUZ/AFP via Getty Images.
Editor's note: This story by James Reinl, based on the Poll, appeared on the DailyMail website.
  • Fully 61 percent of respondents support a cartel-busting US military campaign
  • Nearly 110,000 people in US died from drug overdoses last year, mostly fentanyl
  • Mexico's cartels make billions of dollars from trafficking the powerful opioid
  • Where do the cartels get 80 percent of their weapons? Find out in this article

Voters by wide margins support deploying the military across the border to stop Mexican drug cartels producing deadly drugs and smuggling them into the US, a poll shows.

Fully 61 percent of respondents support using US forces to tackle cartel paramilitaries head-on — a policy that's been championed by Republican presidential wannabes Tim Scott and Donald Trump.

The results signal growing frustration about lax security at the southern border and drug flows into the US, where nearly 110,000 people died from drug overdoses last year, according to federal data.

Trump, Scott, and other Republicans have called for deploying the US military to attack drug labs in Mexico, where the powerful opioid fentanyl is produced using precursor chemicals imported from China.

Fully 61 percent of respondents support using US forces to tackle cartel paramilitaries head-on

Plans also involve designating the Sinaloa, Jalisco New Generation, and other cartels as terrorist organizations and slapping them with sanctions so that leaders cannot move money or travel internationally.

Former president Trump said last week he would deploy military assets to fight the fentanyl crisis and 'inflict maximum damage' on cartel operations if elected in 2024.

He would also seek the death penalty to convicted drug dealers and human traffickers, he said.

'Under my leadership, we took the drug and fentanyl crisis head on, and we achieved the first reduction in overdose deaths in more than 30 years,' Trump said in a campaign video.

'Sadly, under Joe Biden, our hard-won progress has been surrendered, along with the surrender of our southern border.'

Trump, the front-runner in the Republican presidential nomination race, said 'fentanyl and other ultra-deadly poisons are pouring into our country unchecked — stealing more than 100,000 American lives every single year.'

The survey of nearly 1,400 adults suggests the policy resonates with voters.

Some 31 percent of respondents said they 'strongly' backed the use of military force, while another 30 percent said they 'somewhat' felt the same way.

Another 29 percent were against using the military, and 11 percent were not sure.

Fully 70 percent of Republicans wanted to see cartel drug labs attacked, while 58 percent of Democrats agreed.

Synthetic opioids — mostly fentanyl — now kill more Americans every year than died in the Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan wars combined.

This feeds an argument among some politicians that the cartels should be branded terrorist groups and prompting once-unthinkable calls for US military intervention across the border.

It remains unclear exactly what military operations have been considered, whether they would halt or deter the cartels, and whether they would result in geopolitical blowback.

Mexico's president Andrés Manuel López Obrador in March said that his country does not produce or consume fentanyl, despite enormous evidence to the contrary, and framed the synthetic opioid epidemic largely as an American social problem.

Fully 70 percent of Republicans wanted to see cartel drug labs attacked, while 58 percent of Democrats agreed

The groundwork for the US fentanyl epidemic was laid more than 20 years ago, with aggressive over-prescribing of the synthetic opioid oxycodone.

As US authorities clamped down on its prescription, users moved to heroin, which the Sinaloa cartel happily supplied.

But making its own fentanyl — far more potent and versatile than heroin — in small, easily concealed labs was a game changer.

The cartel went from its first makeshift fentanyl lab to a network of labs concentrated in the northern state of Sinaloa in less than a decade.

A single cartel 'cook' can press fentanyl into 100,000 counterfeit pills every day to fool Americans into thinking they're taking Xanax, Percocet or oxycodone.

The pills are smuggled over the border to supply drug addicts across the US, including the homeless users seen stumbling around on the streets of San Francisco, New York and other big cities.

Fentanyl is so cheap to make that the cartel reaps massive profits even wholesaling the drug at 50 cents per pill, investigators say.

The drug's potency makes it particularly dangerous.

The narcotic dose of fentanyl is so close to the lethal dose that a pill meant to ensure a high for a habituated user can easily kill a less experienced person taking something they didn't know was fentanyl.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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