AI aids Law Enforcement in disrupting Fentanyl production and distribution.

  • Law enforcement agencies have adopted artificial intelligence (AI) to aid in fighting the production and distribution of fentanyl, a deadly synthetic opioid.
  • Border Patrol agents have utilized AI to seize substantial amounts of fentanyl ingredients and arrest traffickers.
  • Global supply chain start-up, Altana, has received a $9 million contract to use an AI tool to track fentanyl production.

Law enforcement agencies, in an attempt to stop the inflow of drugs into the country, have started using AI, especially along the southern border where nearly 99% of smuggled fentanyl into the USA is detected. The government has expanded a $9 million contract with the global supply chain start-up platform Altana for the use of an AI tool to track fentanyl production.

Altana employs artificial intelligence to track companies that produce the ingredients used to manufacture fentanyl and monitor the shipping of these ingredients. Agents can then use this data to shut down both the production and distribution networks effectively. Moreover, all these details are summarized in a knowledge map that keeps growing as new information is discovered.

The company demonstrates the relationship between suppliers and manufacturers, and even depicts billions of transactions, through its tracking mechanism. Although Altana’s method of tracking companies is not disclosed, its approach resembles the startup’s other initiative aiming to track items produced using forced labor.

AI technology has brought about success in the Border Patrol’s mission against fentanyl. Since contracting with Altana in July, agents have been able to carry out two substantial missions as shown by Customs and Border Protection reports. In one instance, 13,000 pounds of ingredients used in the production of fentanyl were intercepted, and in another, agents made 284 arrests and confiscated 10,000 pounds of fentanyl.

Despite these notable achievements, questions arise about the potential abuse of this technology. For instance, could fentanyl manufacturers and distributors access this information and, if they could, how would they use it? Nonetheless, the use of AI by law enforcement has already shown positive results.