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Gov. Lee authorizes Tennessee National Guard deployment to southern border

Tennessee Gov. Lee has authorized extra members to be sent to the border to address the drug crisis.
Published: Dec. 7, 2021 at 5:06 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Gov. Bill Lee authorized 50 additional Tennessee National Guard members to deploy to the U.S. Southern Border in early 2022 to curb the ongoing drug crisis Tuesday.

“An open border has far-reaching consequences that are fueling a drug crisis impacting both our national security and the safety of our state,” said Gov. Lee. “I have authorized additional Tennessee Guard support at our Southern border as we look to address drug trafficking at the source.”

Drug seizures along the border have continued to rise each month, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said. Officials said that over 200,000 pounds of fentanyl and methamphetamine had been seized this year alone.

Tennessee saw over 3,000 drug overdose deaths in 2020, a 45% increase from 2019.

While Tennesseans have previously been at the border to provide support for security efforts, the additional deployment responds to the “surge” in illegal crossing and drug-related activity, Gov. Lee said.

“Our Soldiers and Airmen are capable and ready to come to the aid of our fellow Americans along the Texas border,” said Tennessee Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Jeff Holmes. “Their service and sacrifice carry on a longstanding tradition and are rooted in a long line of Tennesseans who established the Volunteer Legacy that distinctly marks our great state.”

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