Exclusive: Sen. Blackburn Discusses Fentanyl Crisis with TBI Special Agent

A U.S. senator from Tennessee sat down for a wide-ranging interview with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) Drug Task Force Director to expose America’s deadly fentanyl crisis that is getting worse by the day.

“Thousands of people are on the march toward our southern border as we speak. What do they want? Biden’s welcome package – free phone, free plane ticket, and free baby formula,” said Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). “We know that among that group, drug dealers and smugglers are bringing across deadly amounts of fentanyl. I spoke with TBI Special Agent in Charge Thomas Farmer to expose how this crisis is devastating our communities.”

In the interview with TBI Special Agent in Charge Thomas Farmer on Unmuted with Marsha, Blackburn quizzed Farmer on illegal immigration as it relates to America’s deadly drug crisis.

The 30-year veteran of law enforcement, who has spent 20 years working in drug enforcement, told the Senator that Mexican cartels are exploiting weaknesses in America’s criminal justice and court systems – which often let illegal aliens walk freely into the United States – and limited law enforcement resources to smuggle illegal aliens into the country.

He also described the smuggling operations as “enslavement,” and said cartels regularly take advantage of their own clientele, which Blackburn described as “horrific.”

“We do know that these cartels are putting bracelets or ankle bracelets on people and tracking them until they pay that debt [for smuggling services],” Blackburn said.

The pair then discussed the deadly drug fentanyl.

“Well, the fentanyl is the driving force right now,” Farmer said. “There’s no doubt about it. And again, because of what we’re talking about, what you described – 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine – and those are general descriptions. We are very often now seeing analogues of fentanyl that far exceed that – 1000 to 10,000 times more powerful than morphine. So we also have to wrap our heads around thinking of the unit of measurement that we consider illicit drugs.”

Fentanyl is typically laced in other drugs like cocaine, heroin and even marijuana.

Farmer said fentanyl is so potent that it requires micrograms as a unit of measurement, unlike other drugs that are usually measured in grams.

“It’s so incredibly strong in microscopic amounts, so it takes just a very little bit,” Farmer said. “It could be something that could fit on the size of a pen if it was an acetal or one of those analogues of fentanyl. What also happens Senator, as you know, is that when they change that molecular structure or that chemical structure of it just so slightly, then it triggers a whole [series] of events in the system where we have to catch back up to it.”

The pair noted that cartels have chosen “distribution centers” for fentanyl in the United States – cities where they have hubs for distributing the deadly drug.

“Fentanyl is probably the driving force that I would say is the most impactful in terms of overdoses,” Farmer said. “And that’s being adulterated into other substances like cocaine. That is more of the trigger, or I would identify it as the most significant in leading to those increased overdoses despite all of our efforts that we’ve done to reduce the opioid epidemic.”

America’s drug overdoses reached a record high in 2021.

Watch the full interview below:

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Pete D’Abrosca is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Marsha Blackburn” by Marsha Blackburn. 




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One Thought to “Exclusive: Sen. Blackburn Discusses Fentanyl Crisis with TBI Special Agent”

  1. 83ragtop50

    The underlying problem is simply that people buy illegal drugs to take. No deaths if they would stop this behavior. Blaming it all on the criminal drug smugglers makes a good smoke screen for the underlying problem.