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Border & Immigration

Newsom to more than double National Guard at ports of entry to combat drugs

Traffic at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, the busiest land border crossing in the world, is congested even with COVID restriction and many travelers wonder how long it will take them as rules relax, November 3, 2021.
Matthew Bowler
Cars wait to cross on Nov. 3, 2021 at the San Ysidro Port of Entry.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday he is more than doubling the number of California National Guard service members deployed statewide and at ports of entry — including those in San Diego County — to combat the flow of fentanyl and other drugs into the United States.

The number of CalGuard service members will be increased from 155 to 392, according to a statement from the governor's office.

Last fall, Newsom announced the number of servicemembers would be increased by 50% at four ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border, including San Ysidro and Otay Mesa in San Diego County. That figure represented an increase from 40 soldiers to 60 at ports of entry, but it was unclear how much the latest increase would bolster CalGuard's presence at the border.


"Our top priority is the safety of our communities statewide. By working with state, local, and federal partners to take down transnational organizations and the illegal drugs they attempt to bring into our state, the state's Counter Drug Taskforce is making a profound difference to hold smugglers accountable and take deadly drugs off our streets," Newsom said in a statement.

The governor's office said last year's increase of CalGuard service members helped support a record seizure of over 62,000 pounds of fentanyl in 2023, as well as the seizure of 5.8 million pills containing fentanyl so far this year.