Border Patrol reports record fentanyl seizures in Tucson area
PHOENIX — U.S. Border Patrol agents in the Tucson Sector have seized 57 pounds of fentanyl since January — four times the amount year over year.
This week, the agents caught an 18-year-old Nevada woman smuggling 8.1 ounces of the synthetic opioid inside her body at the Nogales Port of Entry.
“Really, it was a line of questioning and agent intuition which led to the person admitting that she was carrying these narcotics,” said Agent Joe Curran.
“We’re just happy that this had the safest resolution for the person who was smuggling those narcotics, and there was no contamination to those agents or anybody.”
Tucson Sector #BorderPatrol Agents have seized 57+ pounds of fentanyl so far in FY2020, over 4 times the amount seized last year. This huge increase includes a fentanyl package carried by a Nevada woman arrested last Friday. @CBP Details: https://t.co/JAHA74AMnx @CBP pic.twitter.com/XW8DpZOepp
— Roy D. Villareal (@USBPChiefTCA) May 19, 2020
He adds addicts nationwide are craving fentanyl even more, including in its altered state.
“A lot of these drug smugglers and even your low-level traffickers are mixing it with heroin and other opioids to try and cut it,” to sell more cheaply, Curran said.
The Pima County Health Dept. reports 32 fentanyl-related deaths since January — mostly among people in their 20s.
A spokesman there, along with Curran, could not confirm if the spike in deaths is related to the spike in fentanyl seizures along the southern border with Mexico.
However, Curran says the synthetic opioid is made in the U.S. and also trafficked.