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Reps. Ezell and Kustoff Introduce Bill to Combat Shipping of Fentanyl Through U.S. Mail

Congressmen Mike Ezell (MS-04) and David Kustoff (TN-08) have introduced the Uniform Postal Data Acquisition for Transparency and Early Detection within the United States Postal Service (UPDATED USPS) Act to stop China and other nations from using the U.S. mail to send fentanyl and its precursor chemicals into the United States.

“As a sheriff, I saw first-hand how fentanyl has taken lives and devastated communities,” Congressman Ezell said. “The UPDATED USPS Act will give law enforcement more resources to shut down fentanyl supply chains and make it more difficult for our adversaries like China to send deadly drugs into the United States."

“Bad actors are not only smuggling deadly fentanyl across our southern border, but they are also mailing it into our communities from overseas,” said Congressman Kustoff. “We must provide all law enforcement agencies, including Customs and Border Protection, the resources they need to protect American citizens. That is why I joined Rep. Mike Ezell to introduce this important legislation that will help stop the flow of dangerous drugs into our country."

Cartels and drug traffickers have historically used the U.S. mail as a way to move fentanyl and its precursor chemicals into the United States because the USPS did not require advanced electronic data (AED) on inbound international packages. AED provides postal carriers and law enforcement partners with critical information on each package, including its destination, contents, and sender.

The STOP Act of 2018 required the creation of new AED guidance for U.S. mail. However, traffickers have exploited loopholes in this guidance to continue moving fentanyl and precursor chemicals into the United States. The UPDATED USPS Act strengthens enforcement of STOP Act provisions by putting an end to the methods cartels have used to subvert this guidance.

Specifically, the bill:

  • Ends exemption waivers that allow nations like China to evade detection by first shipping fentanyl into other countries before sending it to the United States;
  • Requires the USPS to publish statistics about incoming international mail without AED, including country of origin, to help law enforcement identify and shut down fentanyl supply chains;
  • Requires mail sent from other nations without AED to be returned to sender, not housed in the United States; and
  • Expands AED requirements beyond packages to all mail, which better addresses the potency of even small amounts of fentanyl.