U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized an estimated $3.8 million in methamphetamine, heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine during a series of vehicle inspections at the various ports of entry in California and Arizona within the last week.
The first reported seizure occurred over the weekend of May 3, when CBP officers assigned to the Port of San Luis, Arizona, contacted a 23-year-old male from Yuma driving a Honda sedan as he attempted to enter the U.S. on Friday morning. A subsequent search revealed 80 packages of methamphetamine with a total weight of 86 pounds worth more than $259,000.
On Saturday morning, CBP officers referred a 20-year-old Mesa woman to a secondary inspection of her Honda sedan. A CBP K-9 alerted to 2 pounds of fentanyl worth $21,000 and 23 pounds of methamphetamine valued at more than $70,000.
Several hours later, CBP officers referred a 30-year-old Mexican driving a Honda van for a secondary inspection, leading to concealed packages containing 55 pounds of methamphetamine valued at $164,000; 26 pounds of cocaine worth $620,000; and more than 2.5 pounds of heroin valued at $68,000.
The next series of reported seizures occurred in California by CBP officers working the Calexico Port of Entry.
The first incident occurred on May 3, when CBP officers contacted a 21-year-old U.S. male driving a 1988 Ford Ranger. An inspection of a camper revealed 56 pounds of methamphetamine inside a hidden compartment. The value of the meth was estimated at $90,000.
The second seizure occurred on May 4, when CBP officers contacted a 35-year-old Mexican male and legal permanent resident of the U.S. driving a Jeep Liberty. CBP officers reportedly discovered 17 pounds of heroin valued at $130,000.
The next series of reported seizures came from the Nogales Port of Entry.
On Friday morning at the Dennis DeConcini Crossing, CBP officers referred a 20-year-old male from Tucson for a secondary inspection. Authorities discovered one pound of fentanyl ($16,000); 86 pounds of methamphetamine ($259,000); 29 pounds of heroin ($781,000); and 17 pounds of cocaine ($419,000).
Later, officers working the same crossing referred a 66-year-old Tucson man for a secondary search of the Ford truck he was driving. A K-9 alerted to 19 pounds of fentanyl ($260,000); 68 pounds of meth ($205,000); and 9 pounds of heroin ($253,000).
In two separate seizures, CBP officers spotted a total of 1.5 pounds of fentanyl pills from females crossing into the U.S. with the illegal substances hidden in their clothing or a body cavity. The combined value of the pills was estimated at $18,200.
The next seizure occurred on Friday afternoon when CBP officers referred a 33-year-old male from Hermosillo, Mexico, for secondary inspection. Authorities discovered nearly 56 pounds of meth valued at $167,000 concealed within a fuel tank. The final seizure occurred on Monday when CBP officers referred a 44-year-old Mexican male for a secondary inspection who was driving a sedan. A CBP officer discovered nearly 15 pounds of meth valued at $45,000.
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.)