Congress paid for scanners but not installation

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — More than 100 scanners to detect drugs, like illicit fentanyl, flowing through U.S. border crossings are sitting idle because Congress has not allocated the money to install them, Nevada Democratic Sen. Jacky Rosen said.

While Congress has already paid for the scanners, the cost to install them was not included in prior budgets and requires funding, Rosen said. That funding was killed when the recent bipartisan border bill failed to gain Republican support, she said.

The scanners work with other technologies at the border already in place to inspect vehicles and cargo.

“When they can drive through these X-ray bays if you will, there’s an agent standing trained behind,” Rosen said. “They know what cars and vehicles to pull out of the line.”

So far in fiscal year 2024, which began last October, border agents have seized more than 13,000 pounds of fentanyl, the Department of Homeland Security said. The department said it was installing 123 large-scanner scanners to increase inspections.

Earlier this month, Democratic Georgia Sen. Jon Ossoff introduced legislation to fund the scanners to bring them online.

Last week, Biden signed a law Rosen helped craft to bring drug guidance up to par with current threats.

In 2023, 302 people died from overdoses involving fentanyl in Clark County — a 28% increase from 2022, according to the Southern Nevada Health District.

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