(NEW YORK) — Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced Thursday that they made the largest fentanyl bust in U.S. history over the weekend, seizing hundreds of pounds of the drug along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Officers at the Port of Nogales in Arizona arrested Juan Antonio Torres-Barraza and charged him with two counts of possession with intent to distribute for allegedly attempting to enter the U.S. with a combined 650 pounds of methamphetamine and fentanyl, worth nearly $4.6 million dollars.
Nearly 254 pounds of fentanyl was seized, with a value of around $3.5 million.
Border protection officers found the drugs in a special compartment of a trailer, which was “laden” with cucumbers, according to the agency.
“I want to express my gratitude to the CBP officers involved in this case and Nogales personnel who selflessly perform their duties with dedication, vigilance, and professional even during a funding hiatus,” said Nogales Area Port Director Michael Humphries. “Opioids pose a real danger to our local communities and are having fatal consequences across our nation. This past weekend, our CBP officers were able to stop an enormous amount of these deadly narcotics from hitting our streets.”
The nature of this seizure runs counter to what President Trump has said about the way in which drugs enter the U.S. from Mexico.
“They don’t come in through the portals, they come in between the portals where you have no barrier,” Trump said, referring to the drug trade in early January. The Port of Nogales is considered a “portal.”
On Thursday evening, Trump thanked border patrol agents for the drug seizure.
“Our great U.S. Border Patrol Agents made the biggest Fentanyl bust in our Country’s history,” he wrote. “Thanks, as always, for a job well done!”
According to statistics released by the CBP, last year the agency seized around 135,943 pounds of cocaine, 2,015 pounds of heroin, and 6,135 pounds of methamphetamine.
Fentanyl, which can be lethal, has been at the center of America’s opioid crisis.
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