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CBP officials stop another way to smuggle in fentanyl: hamburgers

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(The Center Square) – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at El Paso area ports of entry seized a large amount of drugs being smuggled into the country in novel ways. One female was caught hiding fentanyl inside her body, another in a hamburger.

In the past two weeks, CBP El Paso POE agents seized more than 62 pounds of methamphetamine, more than 25 pounds of fentanyl, and more than 158 pounds of marijuana.

Two milligrams of fentanyl, the weight of a mosquito, is considered a lethal dose. One pound of fentanyl, or 453,592 milligrams, is enough to kill 226,796 people; 25 pounds is enough to kill 5.6 million people.

According to AddictionResources.net, a lethal dose of methamphetamine is an estimated 200 milligrams. Based on these estimates and the seizure amounts, CBP agents seized enough lethal doses of meth to kill more than 14 million people.

The way the drugs were smuggled in also posed a danger to those smuggling them and to CBP agents potentially exposed to them, officials told The Center Square.

Recent highlighted arrests include alleged drug smugglers strapping packages of drugs to their body, hiding drugs inside their body or inside food.

On March 14, CBP officers working at the Paso Del Norte International Bridge POE apprehended a 34-year-old male U.S citizen attempting to smuggle in roughly one pound of methamphetamine. He had gone to Mexico and upon reentering the U.S., CBP officers discovered he had allegedly strapped packages of meth to his leg.

On March 23, CBP officers working at the same POE intercepted roughly a third of a pound of fentanyl from a 27-year-old female U.S. citizen who tried to conceal it in her hamburger. CBP officers found a plastic wrapped bundle inside an uneaten hamburger she said she was bringing back from Mexico.

On March 18, CBP officers working at the Ysleta–Zaragoza International Bridge POE apprehended a 32-year-old female U.S. citizen attempting to smuggle into the country fentanyl inside her purse and inside her body. CBP officers found a bundle of 0.19 pounds of fentanyl wrapped in black tape inside her purse. As she was being booked into a detention facility, a body X-ray scan revealed she had hidden a bundle of fentanyl inside her vaginal cavity.

On March 21, CBP officers working at the Presidio–Ojinaga International Bridge POE apprehended a 34-year-old male Mexican citizen attempting to smuggle into the country methamphetamine. He was directed to a secondary inspection “due to travel inconsistencies,” CBP said. Upon further inspection of his vehicle, CBP officers discovered aluminum foiled wrapped packages in the gas tank area and seized more than 61 pounds of methamphetamine.

On March 26, CBP officers working at the Bridge of the Americas POE intercepted more than 25 pounds of fentanyl from two Mexican citizens attempting to enter the country. A 25-year-old man and a 22-year-old female, both Mexican citizens, were pulled over following a non-intrusive search of their vehicle. Officers found “anomalies in the rear doors of the vehicle,” where they found the drugs.

Agents also seized $162,539 of illicit currency and arrested 44 fugitives over the same time-period. The 44 arrests relate to perpetrators allegedly committing embezzlement, child sexual assault, assault with a deadly weapon, larceny, alien smuggling, dangerous drugs, and driving under the influence.

Everyone who was arrested was turned over to federal and state authorities for prosecution.

“These seizures and arrests are a perfect example of the hard work that our CBP officers are doing on a daily basis,” El Paso Director of Field Operations Hector Mancha said. “We all have a professional and personal stake in working hard to keep our communities safe.”