Customs and Border Protection (CBP) detained the driver of a tractor-trailer carrying green beans at the Otay Mesa port in San Diego, California, after finding around 800 pounds of fentanyl hidden among the products. After conducting a “non-intrusive” search, officers discovered more than 3.5 million fentanyl pills valued at $21.1 million.
The driver, a 48-year-old man, was detained and taken into Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody on charges of attempted narcotics smuggling. Fentanyl has specifically been a problem amid the opioid crisis in the United States, with the drug blamed for its involvement in a mix with a veterinary tranquilizer that the White House has labeled an “emerging threat.”
The drug seizure was one of the largest made in a single week by CBP officers after the launch of Homeland Security’s Operation Blue Lotus on March 13. This operation was part of a multi-pronged strategy by the Biden administration “to combat the scourge of fentanyl.” Some Republican lawmakers have called for a military response against dangerous drug cartels in Mexico.
Meanwhile, CBP continues to work to combat drug trafficking in the United States. The arrest of this driver is a sign that the agency is taking strong steps to ensure border security. The seizure of 800 pounds of fentanyl is a stark reminder of the dangers posed by the opioid epidemic and a victory for border officials in their fight against dangerous drug smuggling.