Three high school students in the southern Arizona were arrested after they were allegedly found in possession of 3,200 fentanyl pills. Their town shares an international border with San Luis Río Colorado, Sonora.
Police in San Luis, Arizona, announced the arrests of three local high school students after an investigation led to the alleged discovery of 3,200 fentanyl pills. Two of the students were identified as Noemí Hernández-Madrigal and Alessandra Cárdenas-Hernández, both 18. A 16-year-old student will be charged as a juvenile, according to local news reports. The students were enrolled in summer school and were arrested on campus.
Hernández-Madrigal was reportedly found in possession of three plastic baggies containing more than 3,200 blue fentanyl pills marked “M30.” The total weight came out to 373 grams. The fentanyl pills are selling for $15 on the street, according to San Luis Police Lieutenant Marco Santana. The officer noted the city of San Luis had approximately 19 overdoses thus far in 2019–already surpassing 16 incidents in 2018. The border city has a population of roughly 32,000.
In December 2018, KYMA Yuma reported on the opioid epidemic related to deadly fentanyl. San Luis Police Chief, Richard Jessup said the town is impacted due to its geographic proximity to Mexico and nearby drug smuggling routes.
In the same month, the San Luis Police Department reached out to the Yuma Union High School District to distribute flyers specifically warning about M30 after multiple reports of student overdoses.
In August 2018, Breitbart News reported on the discovery of a border narco-tunnel leading into a shuttered Arizona KFC restaurant by Homeland Security Investigations and the U.S. Border Patrol. Authorities found 118 kilos of methamphetamine, six grams of cocaine, three kilos of fentanyl, 13 kilos of white heroin, and six kilos of brown heroin. Authorities surmised the discovery involved the Sinaloa Cartel.
In April 2019, elements of the Mexican Army and state police seized 12,260 fentanyl pills at a military checkpoint in Sonora, which resulted in the arrest of one adult male traveling aboard a passenger bus.
Last weekend, at least 527 pounds of methamphetamine worth $7.2 million was seized during a joint investigation by local police and federal agents in San Luis, Arizona.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org