Spill the beans!
About 800 pounds of fentanyl were found inside a tractor-trailer transporting green beans through the Otay Mesa port in San Diego, California.
US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers stopped a 48-year-old driver at the port on Monday evening, and after conducting a “non-intrusive” search, they discovered more than 3.5 million fentanyl pills valued at $21.1 million hidden among the produce.
The search was prompted when officers noticed “irregularities” with the tractor-trailer, prompting them to call in a narcotic detector dog who alerted them to the pills inside.
The driver, who has yet to be identified, has been taken into the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement for allegations of attempted narcotic smuggling.
“CBP recognizes our officers’ exceptional performance and applaud their continued efforts to protect and serve our communities,” said Rosa Hernandez, port director for the Otay Mesa Cargo Facility.
“This seizure provides insight and displays how our officers work together in collaboration to keep this dangerous drug off the streets.”
Drug smuggling through the border continues to be an issue, with 471 fentanyl seizures reported between October and March.
CBP has also conducted more than 4,200 meth and 1,200 cocaine seizures during that period.
Fentanyl has specifically been a problem amid the US opioid crisis, with the drug blamed for its part in a mixture with a veterinary tranquilizer that has been named an “emerging threat” by the White House.
Last month, the Department of Homeland Security seized 900 pounds of fentanyl at the border in the first week of a new initiative to crack down on the deadly synthetic opioid.
The drug seizure was one of the largest made in a single week by CBP officials after the launch of Homeland Security’s Operation Blue Lotus on March 13.
The move was part of “a multi-pronged strategy” by the Biden administration “to combat the scourge of fentanyl,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said.
It came after critics pointed to President Biden’s permissive border policy for allowing fentanyl to flow freely into the US, prompting some Republican lawmakers to call for a military response against the dangerous drug cartels in Mexico.
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