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CBP busts 'record-breaking' haul of 3,300 lbs of meth in Nogales

Customs and Border Protection officers made the largest seizure of methamphetamine in the Tucson Field's Office's history Wednesday when they found nearly 3,300 pounds of the drug worth an estimated $7.7 million stashed in a shipment of auto parts at a border crossing, authorities said.

A 21-year-old Mexican man was arrested after CBP officers working at the Mariposa Commercial Facility in Nogales, Ariz., sent his semi-truck to the secondary inspection area, and a drug dog alerted to the presence of drugs. Officers inspected the shipment of auto parts, and discovered more than 470 packages of methamphetamine molded into the long, flat packages that can be hidden beneath cargo on the floor of semi-trailers, said Rob Daniels, a CBP spokesman.

This was a "record seizure" for CBP officials in Arizona. However, the largest seizure of methamphetamine in the agency's history happened in December 2019 when CBP officers working for the Laredo Field Office in Texas seized 4,944 pounds of the drug.

The previous record seizure came last October when CBP officials seized around 800 pounds of methamphetamine stashed in 650 packages among a load of bell peppers, pickles and cucumbers. That shipment had a value of around $2 million, officials said. 

Guadalupe Ramirez, director of Field Operations, praised officers for the record-breaking seizure.

"While CBP officers facilitate legitimate trade and travel, they remain focused on our highest priorities which includes stopping the flow of hard narcotics such as methamphetamine and opioids from entering our country," Ramirez said. "Our officers prevented these dangerous drugs from causing devastation to families and ultimately saving many lives, not only in our community but throughout the United States."

Over the last four years, methamphetamine seizures, along with fentanyl, have rapidly increased as drug-smuggling organizations appear to be shifting away from bulky marijuana shipments to drugs that are easier to conceal.

While politician have often argued for tighter restrictions along the border between the ports, the nation's border crossings continue to be where the largest seizures of drugs occur as officials with CBP's Office of Field Operations, which manages the U.S. ports and airports, intercept drugs hidden inside passenger cars and commercial vehicles, and even carried across the border by individuals. 

So far this fiscal year, which began on October 1, CBP agents and officers seized over 58,000 pounds of methamphetamine, around 2,200 pounds of fentanyl, and nearly 9,700 pounds in cocaine. Officials also intercepted more than 38,000 pounds of khat—a stimulate that comes from Ethiopia.

The drugs and the vehicle were seized, and the driver was turned over to agents with Homeland Security Investigations, a part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said Daniels.

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Customs and Border Protection seized a 'record-breaking' amount of methamphetamine in a semi-trailer carrying auto parts.

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