EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Federal officers conducting a routine search of vehicles at a U.S. port of entry in Arizona have stopped nearly 100 pounds of fentanyl and methamphetamines from reaching American neighborhoods, court documents show.
The drugs were in the spare tire of a white Chevrolet Silverado truck allegedly driven by a U.S. citizen who applied for admission on Oct. 20 by presenting a damaged passport card and an Arizona driver’s license.
While a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer checked the documents, another officer looked under the truck and inspected the vehicle’s spare tire. Court records show the officer struck the tire and it felt solid; he used a portable scanner on the suspicious tire and got a high-density reader.
The officers directed the driver of the Silverado to a secondary inspection area. The tire was further scanned and disassembled and officers found 52 clear cellophane-wrapped packages holding a crystal-like substance and another 18 packages containing blue pills branded “M-30.” Court records show the crystalline substance tested positive for methamphetamine and the pills turned out to be fentanyl.
The total haul was 24.3 kilograms (53.46 pounds) of meth and 20.9 kilos (46 pounds) of fentanyl.
Federal officials identified the driver as Susan Andrey Sandoval.
In a post-arrest interview, Sandoval allegedly admitted to investigators being aware of the drugs and having been offered $8,000 to transport them from Sonora, Mexico, to Phoenix. Sandoval was told to expect a telephone call later with instructions on where in Phoenix to deliver the drugs, court records show.
Federal officials charged Sandoval with two counts of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance.
CBP records show fentanyl seizures have nearly tripled in the past year in the Tucson Office of Field Operations, which includes the San Luis port of entry.