US citizen arrested at California checkpoint with $130k in fentanyl pills

An American was arrested Wednesday while attempting to smuggle $130,000 worth of fentanyl pills through an immigration checkpoint in California, U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced Thursday.

Border Patrol agents at the El Centro area checkpoint in Indio say the driver of a shared taxi carrying four passengers entered the checkpoint on Highway 86 near the Salton Sea around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. .

The vehicle was sent to a secondary inspection area for further investigation, where a K-9 team specializing in concealed human and drug detection received permission from the taxi driver to search the vehicle.

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CBP announced Wednesday that a backpack containing 9.7 pounds of fentanyl pills and a speaker, with an estimated street value of $130,000, were seized at an immigration inspection in California. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

The K-9 alerted authorities to the vehicle’s trunk, which contained multiple bags, and specifically alerted them to a backpack and a speaker. The passenger, who was not named and identified only as a U.S. citizen, said both were his.

Border Patrol searched both items and found “several packaged packages consistent with packaging commonly used to transport illegal narcotics,” the agency said.

A sample taken from one of the wrapped packages tested positive for fentanyl.

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The package was found to contain 9.7 pounds of fentanyl pills, with an estimated street value of $130,000, according to CBP.

The passenger was arrested and turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

person arrested by border patrol agents

The passenger, identified only as a U.S. citizen, was arrested by El Center Border Patrol agents and turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration. (U.S. Border Patrol El Centro Division/Facebook)


El Centro Sector said the seizure was part of Operation Apollo, a regional joint operation with federal, state and local agencies aimed at combating the threat of fentanyl and other illegal synthetic drugs.

In the past few days, the checkpoint has announced the following arrests: a fugitive wanted for a federal probation violation stemming from cocaine smuggling, and a felon on a no-bail felony warrant out of San Bernardino. , 9.3 pounds of marijuana, 6.5 pounds of meth and $31,794.



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