EL PASO, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Paso Del Norte Border Crossing, intercepted 37 pounds of fentanyl in three separate failed smuggling attempts in less than 48 hours.
“CBP is on the front line of America’s fight against fentanyl and other dangerous drugs,” said CBP El Paso Port Director Ray Provencio. “As the largest law enforcement agency in the United States, CBP is uniquely positioned to detect, identify, and seize illicit drugs from entering the country and preventing these deadly substances from entering our communities and taking lives.”
The first seizure took place on Feb. 5, when a 20-year-old female U.S. citizen arrived from Mexico via the vehicle lanes. The individual was referred for a secondary inspection of the vehicle which included screening by a CBP canine and a non-intrusive (x-ray) inspection. After conducting a thorough examination, CBP officers located multiple fentanyl filled packages with a combined weight of 36.64 pounds, concealed within the vehicle’s spare tire.
The second incident took place on Feb. 6, when a 45-year-old female, U.S. citizen arrived from Mexico via the pedestrian lanes. The individual was referred for a secondary inspection which included screening by a CBP canine and pat down search. CBP officers located two fentanyl filled bundles with a combined weight of .29 pounds, concealed within the vaginal cavity.
The third incident took place a few minutes later when a 26-year-old female, U.S. citizen arrived from Mexico via the pedestrian lanes. The individual was referred for a secondary inspection which included a pat down search. CBP officers located one fentanyl filled bundle with a weight of .16 pounds, concealed within the vaginal cavity.
The individuals were turned over to Homeland Security Investigations and/or Texas Department of Public Safety agents for prosecution.
Fentanyl is an incredibly dangerous drug, and one that we did not see ten years ago. It is potent in even very small amounts. CBP’s combination of interdiction and intelligence capabilities, complemented by its border search authorities, scientific services, non-intrusive inspection equipment, and canine detection teams, places it at the forefront of the U.S. government’s efforts to combat fentanyl and other dangerous drugs.
CBP and DHS have significantly invested in stopping dangerous drugs from entering the country, seizing more fentanyl, and arresting more criminals for fentanyl-related crimes in the last two years than in the previous five years combined. We continue to optimize our intelligence and field operations to stop these deadly substances from reaching American communities.
The CBP Strategy to Combat Fentanyl and Other Synthetic Drugs drives a whole-of-CBP approach that feeds into the work taking place all across DHS as we lead interagency efforts against illicit synthetic narcotics.