09.16.16

Senators Urge Administration To Address Trafficking of Synthetic Drugs and Illicit Goods Through Mail Service

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators David Perdue (R-GA), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Ron Johnson (R-WI), James Lankford (R-OK), and Mike Lee (R-UT) wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday, regarding the problems of dangerous synthetic drugs and counterfeit goods entering the United States due to weaknesses in international mail security standards.

“There are foreign entities that are threatening the jobs, safety, and well-being of Americans by taking advantage of U.S. customs laws,” the senators wrote. “Deadly synthetic drugs, such as fentanyl, are being imported to the U.S. with relative ease through international mail. This problem goes beyond the critical need to prevent dangerous illicit drugs from entering our nation. Data from the Department of Homeland Security shows that over the last decade, seizures of counterfeit products have nearly doubled. The State Department should focus its efforts on the countries that are the largest producers and exporters of illicit goods.”

Non-letter class mail entering the U.S. through foreign postal services is not subject to the same screening standards as packages entering through private carriers. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) does not receive electronic customs data for the vast majority of this type of mail, which greatly reduces the agency’s ability to intercept illegal drugs and counterfeit goods.

The senators went on to ask for a plan to be produced by the administration in collaboration with the committees of jurisdiction to combat trafficking of illegal drugs and counterfeit goods.

“We ask that you create a plan to work directly with those countries that CBP deems to be the most significant risk so that U.S. agencies are better able to review electronic and advance customs data for non-letter class mail and packages coming into the U.S. from these countries,” the senators continued. “We respectfully request that you outline such a plan to the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, the Senate Committee on Finance, and the Senate Committee on the Judiciary as soon as possible.”

The letter is available here