A Border Patrol canine sniffed out several packages of fentanyl pills that were hidden inside burritos this week in Arizona, officials said.
“A canine handler referred the male driver of a Chevrolet Tahoe to the checkpoint’s secondary inspection area at approximately 3 p.m., after his canine partner alerted to the vehicle,” according to the agency. “While in secondary, the canine alerted to a black backpack that was located inside the vehicle. Agents searched the backpack and discovered several small packages containing fentanyl pills that were stuffed inside breakfast burritos.”
Inside, they found about $60,000 worth of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that has been singled out by federal officials as causing a drug epidemic leading to hundreds of thousands of overdoses across the United States in recent years.
According to the Department of Justice (pdf), the “vast majority” of “illicit fentanyl-class substances and hundreds of synthetic drugs from at least eight different drug classes” is manufactured in China.
It comes after a video released by a Border Patrol official in New Mexico shows human smugglers dropping two young girls over a 14-foot-tall border barrier before abandoning them.
The smugglers were seen via night-vision cameras leaving the children, who are aged 3 and 5, in the middle of the New Mexico desert “miles from the nearest residence,” said Border Patrol sector chief Gloria Chavez.
According to a news release from Border Patrol, the two girls were sisters from Ecuador. When agents came upon them, they rendered aid, officials said, before they were taken to a nearby hospital for further evaluation and were later “medically cleared.” The young girls were then put in a temporary holding facility.
In recent months, human traffickers known as “coyotes” have been getting paid exorbitant sums of money to transport would-be illegal immigrants across the U.S.-Mexico border, according to officials. Some have taken to using social media websites like Facebook to advertise their services.
Smugglers, under cover of night, scaled a 14 ft. border barrier and cruelly dropped 2 young children in the middle of the New Mexico desert. The girls, ages 3 & 5, were left miles from the nearest residence. Thank you STN Agents for rescuing these children! @CBP @CBPWestTexas pic.twitter.com/U91y2g8Lk1
— Gloria I. Chavez (@USBPChiefEPT) March 31, 2021
“I’m appalled by the way these smugglers viciously dropped innocent children from a 14-foot border barrier last night. If not for the vigilance of our Agents using mobile technology, these two tender-aged siblings would have been exposed to the harsh elements of desert environment for hours,” Chavez said in a statement. “We are currently working with our law enforcement partners in Mexico and attempting to identify these ruthless human smugglers so as to hold them accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
Meanwhile, the massive influx in illegal immigration has drawn criticism by Republicans and a growing number of Democratic lawmakers, who have accused the Biden administration of taking a lax approach to immigration after President Joe Biden took executive action to rescind key Trump-era asylum policies. Biden and other White House officials have blamed Trump’s policies for the mass housing of children and people who crossed the border illegally while describing such surges in immigration as seasonal.