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CBP officers intercept 237 lbs. of meth hidden in Nogales rail car

More than 237 lbs. of methamphetamine was found hidden in a railroad freight car in Nogales by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers on Sunday.

An "anomaly" was noticed when CBP officers at the Dennis DeConcini Port of Entry scanned the hopper car with an X-ray machine, said Edith Serrano, a CBP spokeswoman. With the help of a drug dog, officers discovered a carefully-hidden panel on the outside of the rail car, welded shut.

In video posted on Twitter by Nogales Port Director Michael Humphries, a CBP officer takes a small sledgehammer to the panel and knocks it loose. Hidden behind the panel, officers pulled out 106 tube-shaped packages of methamphetamine packed in the freight car's "structural beams," Humphries wrote.

Serrano estimated the value of the drugs at about $457,000.

"Nice rail seizure," Humphries wrote. "Despite the harsh weather conditions, our officers continue to work diligently every day!" 

Seizures from rail cars are relatively rare despite the large amounts of cargo that cross the border each year. During the fiscal year of 2022—which began on October 1, 2021 and runs through September 2022—CBP officers have seized around 556 pounds of drugs hidden in rail cars.

So far this year, CBP officers have intercepted around 133,000 pounds of methamphetamine, down about five percent from a year earlier, according to data from the agency.

In Arizona, CBP officers have seized 15,600 pounds of drugs, including around 11,200 pounds of methamphetamine and about 2,100 pounds of fentanyl.

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A CBP officer uses a hammer to break the weld on a rail car at the Nogales port. Hidden behind the panel was 237 pounds of methamphetamine, worth $457,000.