Argentina’s customs authorities have brought in tougher rules on importing and exporting fentanyl in a bid to ward off the public health crisis the drug has caused in the US and elsewhere.
The General Directorate of Customs will now require importers and exporters to join a mandatory new fentanyl register as part of its anti-narcotics plans. Registration requires importers and exporters to present an affidavit with detailed information on their background in the fentanyl trading business, the destination of the product and the bank accounts used in the transactions, among other requirements.
The document must be submitted prior to the importer’s registration in Argentina’s Imports Registration System.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid with medical uses as a painkiller and sedative. However, it has also significantly contributed to the opioid addiction crisis in the United States. Deaths linked to the drug more than tripled in the country from 2016 to 2021, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
This added registry is part of new controls implemented to prevent the substance from reaching the hands of drug trafficking groups, according to Argentine customs officials. They say the measure aims to stop the kind of public health crisis the illegal fentanyl market has caused in the US from reaching Argentina.
“Criminal organizations trafficking fentanyl and its derivatives have a geopolitical interest in the region,” said Guillermo Michel, head of Argentina’s customs directorate. “These mechanisms will enable a better control and more efficient response to this new context, balancing security and trade,”
The decision came a few days after a sniffer dog detected 1.3 kilos of fentanyl at Ezeiza airport. The package, which was bound to the U.S. city of Miami by courier, contained a bottle that appeared to hold over-the-counter protein pills.
In February 2022, 24 people died and more than 80 were poisoned after taking cocaine that had been adulterated with carfentanil, a fentanyl analog estimated to be 10,000 times more powerful than morphine, in the Buenos Aires districts of San Martín, Hurlingham and 3 de Febrero.
*With information from Télam