Governor Newsom Announces Seizure of Over Half a Million Fentanyl Pills at Border, Urges Republicans in Congress to Act on Border Security

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: California National Guard-supported operations in February resulted in the seizure of over 1 million fentanyl pills in California — including more than 592,900 pills at the state’s ports of entry.

SACRAMENTO — Governor Gavin Newsom today announced the California National Guard (CalGuard) supported counter-drug operations last month that led to the seizure of over 1 million fentanyl pills in California — including more than 592,900 pills at the state’s ports of entry. The seizures highlight the importance of counter-drug operations along the southern border and increased border security. The bipartisan border security deal, which is being blocked by Republicans in Congress, includes funding and new mechanisms to crack down on fentanyl trafficking.

WHAT GOVERNOR NEWSOM SAID: “Our increased California National Guard deployment helped federal partners seize over half a million fentanyl pills at the southern border last month. We’re doing our job, while Republicans in Congress drop the ball and block the bipartisan border security deal that would further crack down on fentanyl trafficking. They continue to choose chaos for political gain over the American people.”

CalGuard-Supported Fentanyl Seizures in February





592,933 pills

1,030,728 pills

POWDER 348.51 lbs

1,095 lbs


Following lobbying efforts led by the California Congressional delegation and the Newsom administration, the FY24 defense appropriations bill signed into law last week by President Biden includes an approximately $10 million increase in funding for CalGuard’s counternarcotics operation.

REPUBLICAN BORDER CHAOS: Despite this increase, Republicans in Congress continue to reject a bipartisan border security deal — at former President Trump’s urging — that would further boost law enforcement efforts to stop the flow of fentanyl including through new sanctions. The bipartisan deal would also fund over 4,300 asylum officers, 100 immigration judges, and local humanitarian efforts to support a safe and orderly process for people after they are released from federal custody so they may continue to their sponsors.

CALIFORNIA’S LEADERSHIP: Cracking down on the smuggling of illegal drugs, Governor Newsom last year increased the number of CalGuard service members deployed to interdict drugs at U.S. ports of entry along the border by approximately 50%. The operations CalGuard supported resulted in the record seizure of 62,224 pounds of fentanyl in 2023 — a 1066% increase since 2021. CalGuard’s coordinated drug interdiction efforts in the state are funded in part by California’s $30 million investment to expand CalGuard’s work to prevent drug trafficking by transnational criminal organizations. Fentanyl is primarily smuggled into the country by U.S. citizens.

Earlier this year, Governor Newsom joined several states in urging Congress to act on border security and humanitarian support for local communities. Last month, the Governor visited the California-Mexico border and met with President Biden and senior White House officials to discuss key issues impacting California, including immigration and border policy. In support of President Biden’s bilateral cooperation agreement with China on counternarcotics, the Governor spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping in October about combating the transnational shipping of precursor chemicals used to create fentanyl.

Since Governor Newsom took office in 2019, California has invested over $1 billion to crack down on opioid trafficking and enforce the law, combat overdoses, support those with opioid use disorder, and raise awareness about the dangers of opioids. The Governor’s Master Plan for Tackling the Fentanyl and Opioid Crisis provides a comprehensive framework to deepen the impact of these investments.