Largest Fentanyl Seizure in U.S. History Occurs at Arizona Border Checkpoint

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CBP

U.S. Border Customs and Border Patrol agents seized 254 pounds of fentanyl and 395 pounds of methamphetamine during a regular inspection of an 18-wheeler at the commercial border crossing in Nogales, Arizona Saturday. The seizure of fentanyl was the largest ever recorded at a U.S. port of entry.

U.S. border agents assigned to the Mariposa Port of Entry made contact with a 26-year-old Mexican truck driver at approximately 8:50 am. Agents referred the male to a secondary inspection where the truck was scanned with a non-intrusive detection system. Agents detected irregularities within the cabin, specifically the rear floorboard, according to a statement by Michael Humphries, the area port director for the Nogales Port of Entry.

A K-9 detection dog was brought in for further inspection and alerted to an odor. Agents discovered concealed cargo in an after-market compartment underneath a load of cucumbers. Authorities found 254 pounds of fentanyl and 395 pounds of methamphetamine, according to a Border Patrol press conference. The fentanyl was in 100 individual packages in powder form except for 10, consisting of pills. The methamphetamine was in 300 separate packages. The value of the fentanyl was estimated at $3.5 million with the methamphetamine valued at $1.2 million.

“Fentanyl is 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine and the size of a few grains of salt can kill a person very quickly,” according to Nogales Port Director Michael Humphries. He further stated, “This amount of fentanyl our CBP officers prevented from entering our country equates to an un-measurably dangerous amount of an opioid that could have harmed so many families.”

The 26-year old driver was arrested and handed over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigators. The load of cucumbers was destroyed.

Robert Arce is a retired Phoenix Police detective with extensive experience working Mexican organized crime and street gangs. Arce has worked in the Balkans, Iraq, Haiti, and recently completed a three-year assignment in Monterrey, Mexico, working out of the Consulate for the United States Department of State, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Program, where he was the Regional Program Manager for Northeast Mexico (Coahuila, Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Durango, San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas.) You can follow him on Twitter. He can be reached at robertrarce@gmail.com

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