U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents in Arizona seized a record breaking 254 pounds of fentanyl on Saturday. He further stated, "This amount of fentanyl our CBP officers prevented from entering our country equates to an un-measurably risky amount of an opioid that could have harmed so many families".
Agents found the drugs in hidden compartments in a tractor trailer bringing cucumbers from Mexico.
USA border agents assigned to the Mariposa Port of Entry made contact with a 26-year-old Mexican truck driver at approximately 8:50 am.
Another 395 pounds (180 kg) of methamphetamine, worth about $1.1 million, also was confiscated from the truck, officials said.
The fentanyl is valued at $3.5 million and was mostly in powder form, though officials said some pills were also found in the bust.
Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 100 times stronger than morphine that can kill with a 2-milligram dose, has been blamed for fueling an opioid crisis in the United States.
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The bust came as President Donald Trump has demanded Congress give him $5.7 billion to build walls along the US-Mexico border to prevent the entry of both illegal immigrants and unsafe narcotics.
Mexican traffickers are increasingly smuggling the drug into the United States, mostly hidden in northbound passenger vehicles crossing at ports of entry in the Nogales and San Diego areas.
Doug Coleman, the DEA's special agent in charge for the Phoenix division, expressed admiration for the size of the recent bust, emphasizing that it was not the product of any intelligence from his agency but rather "pure, old fashioned police work" by the agent who pulled the truck over.
USA law enforcement officials say the illicit version of the painkiller is now seen mostly as a white powder that can be mixed with heroin for an extra kick as well as blue pills that are counterfeits of prescription drugs like oxycodone.
Commander Nate Auvenshine said via email to The Daily Courier on Thursday afternoon that the seizure reveals how dealers continue to push their "poison" onto the streets of Arizona, and in Prescott.
"This seizure by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol will likely save lives, maybe even those in Yavapai County".