Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn joined former President Donald Trump at the southern border Wednesday to discuss border security.
Waybourn focused on the impact of fentanyl coming into Texas from Mexico. In an interview with Fox and Friends on Wednesday, he said the Dallas-Fort Worth area is one of the major hubs for fentanyl moving into the country. The drug is smuggled up from the border, through Texas and into the rest of the United States, he said.
Waybourn said Tarrant County has seen a 50% rise in fatal overdoses. In March, the Fort Worth Police Department issued a warning about an increase in fentanyl overdose cases in the city and surrounding cities, leading to an “alarming number” of deaths.
Deaths linked in part to fentanyl have shown a surge in the last year, according to a recent KTVT-TV report. In 2019, there were nine fentanyl-related deaths in Tarrant County. In 2020, Tarrant County saw 95 deaths related to fentanyl.
Waybourn emphasized the dangers of the drug being smuggled in from Mexico. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, Mexican transnational criminal organizations are the primary suppliers and distributors of illicit fentanyl and fentanyl substances throughout the U.S.
At Wednesday’s press conference in Weslaco, Trump asked Waybourn if fentanyl is coming from China, according to the Dallas Morning News.
“No, sir, it’s coming in from the cartels,” Waybourn said. He continued to add “the drug cartels in Mexico should be the number one enemy of American law enforcement, plain and simple.”
Federal agents said they’ve seen a 4,000 percent increase in fentanyl seizures over the last three years, according to NBC News.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott also joined Trump at the border. In a press release about the event, he blamed President Joe Biden for “a disaster at our southern border,” saying the administration has “done everything it can to reverse President Trump’s border strategy.”
“Because of President Biden’s outright refusal to secure the border, the State of Texas is stepping up to continue the work of the Trump administration by building a wall and restoring law and order along the border,” Abbott said.
On June 16, Abbott pledged that $250 million will be shifted from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice budget and allocated instead to continued construction of a border wall, the Texas Tribune reported.