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How new technology at the US-Mexico border aims to stop fentanyl from coming across

Our team traveled to Laredo, Texas, where questions arise about whether enough is being done as we see a record number of overdoses.

Jennifer Titus, Libby Hendren, Carter Schumacher

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Published: 4:00 PM CST November 17, 2022
Updated: 5:28 PM CST November 17, 2022

On the U.S.-Mexico border sits the town of Laredo, Texas. 

Ninety-five percent of the people who live there are Hispanic. A bulk of them are Catholic. The only thing that separates the town of 300,000 people from Mexico is the Rio Grande River.

“Nuestra is power. Our story is power,” said Mayor Pete Saenz as he walked the streets of downtown Laredo, highlighting the culture that can be seen around every corner.

Saenz was born and raised here. Many locals have never left.

“What makes Laredo so important, too, is we’re the number one land port. We are number one land port in the nation in terms of trade,” Saenz said.

They welcome the on-flow of trains, trucks, cars and even walkers heading over the bridge from Mexico.

“The river doesn’t divide us. It really connects us,” Saenz said. The Rio Grande is just 200 feet wide between Laredo and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. It’s what makes this town unique.

“Laredo does 60% of Mexico's trade...40% trade with the U.S. and Mexico,” Saenz said.

But what isn’t unique is that this town of 300,000 people is battling the same problem as many other cities across the country.

“Our overdoses are up 100% from last year. Fentanyl is very real,” Saenz said. "It’s got to be stopped, and the key is the border.”

Credit: 10 Tampa Bay
A drone image overlooking the U.S. and Mexico. In the distance into Mexico, a fire burns.

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