Arizona customs officers seize record-breaking amount of meth hidden in produce shipment

TUCSON — U.S. Customs and Border Protection said on Tuesday that Arizona customs officers seized a record-breaking 690 pounds of methamphetamine hidden in a shipment of tomatoes and bell peppers coming through the Mariposa commercial border crossing in Nogales.

The seizure, which CBP calls the largest meth bust “in Arizona port history,” happened on March 9 when a canine officer alerted other customs officers to the presence of drugs hidden in a non-factory compartment of a tractor trailer carrying produce.

The drugs, discovered in 600 individual packages, have a street value of $690,000, CBP said. The packages lined the floor of the refrigerated trailer, several photos the agency released show.

Officers arrested a 34-year-old driver from Mexico, and handed him to Department of Homeland Security investigators, who are tasked with looking into criminal smuggling networks.

“Our officers prevented these dangerous drugs from causing devastation to families and ultimately saving many lives, not only in our community but throughout the United States,” said Michael Humphries, the area port director for Nogales’ three border crossings.

Port Director Michael W. Humphries@CBPPortDirNOG

officers seized 690 lbs. of methamphetamine at the Port of – the meth was concealed in the floor of a tractor trailer on Monday. Thank you to our Nogales officers for keeping our country safe of these harmful drugs.

CBP officials had initially called a press conference to discuss the record-breaking seizure, but they abruptly cancelled it on Monday evening without an explanation.

Customs officers at the Mariposa crossing also made headlines last year when they discovered 254 pounds of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid about100 times stronger than morphine, hidden in a shipment of cucumbers.

That was the largest fentanyl seizure ever recorded along the U.S.-Mexico border, and contained enough doses to kill 115 million people. Just 2 milligrams of fentanyl can kill a person, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

*story by azcentral