The U.S. may start blocking millions of pieces of international mail in January after the government missed key deadlines for a law meant to catch illicit shipments of synthetic opioids, lawmakers warned Thursday.
The rate of inbound international packages tagged with identifying information, which helps Customs and Border Protection flag illicit mail including deadly shipments of the powerful synthetic fentanyl, stood at 54% in October, a U.S. Postal Service official told a Senate panel. By Jan. 1, 2021, all international mail coming into the U.S. must include advance electronic data, which contains the identifying information, or it will be blocked.
If compliance with the AED requirement doesn’t increase, the government could block or destroy as many as 150,000 packages coming to the U.S. per day, said Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), chairman of the Senate Homeland and Governmental Affairs Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, based on a recent estimate given to his staff.