U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials in Arizona made their largest-ever seizure of fentanyl — 254 pounds of powder and pills hidden in a truck hauling cucumbers — at the Nogales commercial border crossing, the Washington Post reports. Michael Humphries, director of the Nogales port of entry, told reporters that the drugs were detected Saturday after scanning equipment alerted officers to the presence of “anomalies” in the cargo that did not resemble any vegetable. A CBP canine team then sniffed out the drugs in a search of the truck. Officers uncovered 395 pounds of methamphetamine from the same truck in addition to the fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that has fueled an epidemic of U.S. overdose deaths.
President Trump has insisted his proposal for a border wall will reduce such deaths and stem drug trafficking, but CBP data indicate that the vast majority of fentanyl, methamphetamine and other hard drugs are seized from vehicles attempting to drive through official ports of entry. The Arizona Republic reports that the smuggling of opiates has been on the rise through ports of entry in recent years along the U.S.-Mexico border. The 254 pounds seized in Nogales is more than the 155 pounds of fentanyl that officers seized at all six border crossings in Arizona during the last fiscal year.