Mexican authorities found $62 million worth of drugs hidden in an abandoned tractor-trailer roughly five miles south of the U.S.-Mexico border over the weekend, according to reports.
Mayor Armando Cabada of Juarez, Chihuahua, announced Sunday that an anonymous tip led to the discovery of more than one ton of marijuana, 9 pounds of fentanyl, 144 pounds of crystal meth, and 12 pounds of heroin, according to Border Report. Mexican military as well as federal and local police were involved in the bust, which did not lead to any arrests. The narcotics were hidden between sacks of plaster mix inside the trailer.
Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is between 50 and 100 times more potent than morphine, is sold through illegal drug markets for its heroin-like effect, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which also notes that the drug is often mixed with heroin and/or cocaine, sometimes without users’ knowledge. Just two to three milligrams of fentanyl can kill a person, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
The amount of fentanyl seized by U.S. border agents at the southern border has skyrocketed in recent years, from 70 pounds in the fiscal year 2015 to nearly 4,000 pounds from Oct. 1, 2019, to Sept. 30, 2020, according to federal data.
Countries in Latin America, chiefly Mexico, are the origin of most opiate trafficking flows into the United States, according to the 2020 World Drug Report (pdf), put out by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
Mexican cartels take advantage of uneven precursor chemical controls to manufacture deadly drugs inside Mexico, including fentanyl, which then make their way into the United States, according to the Department of Defense (DoD), the primary agency that works to detect aerial and maritime drug trafficking routes.
“Mexico remains the source of nearly all heroin seized in the United States and is a transit route for much of the cocaine available in our country,” said Matthew J. Flynn, deputy assistant secretary of defense for counternarcotics and global threats, according to the DoD.
China, meanwhile, is the primary source for all precursor chemicals in fentanyl that ends up trafficked into the United States, according to a January 2020 Drug Enforcement Agency report (pdf).
The DoD works with U.S. agencies and international partners, including Mexican law enforcement, to stem the flow of illicit drugs into America.
“Through our programs, we disrupt and degrade drug trafficking and other illicit threat networks, in order to reduce them to a level where they no longer threaten United States citizens and U.S. national security,” Flynn said in a separate statement.