Arizona And The Federal Government Are In A Smuggling Battle With Death Row Inmates’ Lives In The Balance

Arizona and the federal government are in a battle over smuggling lethal injection drugs into the state, and the lives of more than 100 death row inmates hang in the balance.

The Arizona Department of Corrections spent $27,000 to import 1,000 vials of sodium thiopental into the country but was caught by agents from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration at the airport, The Arizona Republic reports. The chemical is used as an anesthetic in lethal injections, but the feds have cracked down on it since it has not received approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

Arizona’s Department of Corrections contests the legality of the Feds preventing them from importing the drug. The drug may have come from Harris Pharma, a company in India that has offered to provide the drug to several states.

Various laws and international boycotts have made it nearly impossible for many states to carry out their executions. Nebraska, for example, has 10 people on death row it cannot execute. Ohio announced it will not carry out executions until 2017 because of drug shortages. And now Arizona, with 124 inmates on death row, has been stopped by the feds from getting the chemicals it needs. There are about 3,000 inmates on death row nationwide.

International boycotting and regulating have been how death penalty advocates have fought the death penalty, which is still legal in the majority of states.

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