Border agents at I-19 checkpoint seize 53 lbs. of fentanyl from U.S. citizen
Border Patrol agents seized more than 50 pounds of fentanyl from a U.S. citizen Monday morning at the I-19 checkpoint, authorities said.
A 33-year-old woman was arrested when a drug dog alerted to the presence of drugs in her white Ford F-150. Agents searched the truck and found dozens of packages of blue fentanyl pills, said Rob Daniels, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Border Patrol's parent agency.
After the dog alerted, agents scanned the truck with an X-ray, and found a hidden compartment in the bed of the pickup that contained multiple packages of the pills, weighing more than 53 pounds, Daniels said.
CBP officials seized 10,469 pounds of fentanyl in fiscal year 2021, which began Oct. 1, 2020 and ended on Sept. 30. This is significantly higher than in years past as fentanyl has risen to become a major part of the illegal drug trade.
In 2018, CBP seized just 2,283 pounds of fentanyl.
Similarly, seizures of methamphetamine have roughly doubled, rising about 110 percent over the same time period. Cocaine seizures have also risen by about 48 percent, while heroin seizures have dropped 11 percent.
Meanwhile, seizures of marijuana — now a legal recreational drug in Arizona and many neighboring states — declined by nearly 60 percent.
In Arizona, agents in Border Patrol's Tucson and Yuma sectors, and officers at border crossings in the state, seized 2,452 pounds of fentanyl in FY2021, a 952 percent increase since 2018.
Agents handed the drugs and the woman over to the Drug Enforcement Administration, which will be pursuing prosecution, Daniels said.