Arizona Border Agents Seize Drugs Capable of Killing 28.5 Million


U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents at the Mariposa Port of Entry in Nogales, Arizona continue to seize record amounts of fentanyl, methamphetamine, weapons, and ammunition.

May saw a continuation of this trend, with agents intercepting alleged smugglers bringing drugs into the U.S. and weapons to Mexico. According to law enforcement officials, cartel and gang operatives commonly smuggle people and contraband, including drugs, weapons, and ammunition, using stolen cars.

Last month, CBP agents seized over three million fentanyl pills in one incident, stated Mariposa Nogales Port Director Michael Humphries. A canine team helped officers discover approximately 3,372,300 fentanyl pills hidden inside the hollow steel beams of a trailer floor.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) reports that seven out of ten fentanyl pills it seizes contain a lethal dose. Based on this, the pills seized in a single incident had enough fentanyl to kill at least 2.36 million people.

During another operation, CBP officers seized 13,460 rounds of assault rifle ammunition. The ammunition was hidden in the vehicle’s panels, firewall, and one of its doors.

In another outbound stop, officers seized 53,858 rounds of various calibers of ammunition, two handguns, nine M13 Thermobaric devices, and 18 magazines. Humphries mentioned that this large cache of munitions likely aimed to support cartel operations.

In another incident, agents seized 323 pounds of methamphetamine hidden within a charcoal shipment. Canine units uncovered some bags containing meth disguised as charcoal logs.

According to, a lethal dose of methamphetamine is around 200 milligrams. Using this measure, the amount of meth seized could kill over 2,267 people.

Leading up to Memorial Day weekend, in just one week, agents at the Nogales POE seized approximately 265,275 fentanyl pills hidden in a spare tire on May 26. On May 28, they seized 56 pounds of meth also hidden in a spare tire. On May 29, they confiscated around 22,050 fentanyl pills strapped to a smuggler’s legs, and 49,950 fentanyl pills hidden inside a car battery.

In another single stop, officers seized around 700,000 fentanyl pills hidden in various food containers, cans, and cartons in a vehicle’s trunk. The quantity was enough to kill over 490,000 people—more than the populations of every city in Arizona except Phoenix, Tucson, and Mesa combined.

“Officers continue to be very diligent in their search for dangerous opioids,” said Humphries.

The total amount of fentanyl and meth seized in several incidents was enough to kill nearly four times the population of Arizona, which slightly exceeds seven million.

The Nogales POE, part of the CBP Tucson Sector, is one of the busiest for agents combating illegal activities. Located about 65 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border, it serves as the commercial entry point from Nogales, Sonora, in Mexico.

In 2022, the Mariposa Nogales POE’s imports and exports amounted to $28.6 billion, reported the Greater Nogales Santa Cruz County Port Authority.

In 2023, data from the port authority indicates that nearly 382,000 trucks, 3.7 million cars, 889 trains, nearly 3 million pedestrians, and over 10.3 million people crossed from Mexico into Arizona.

In the last three fiscal years, CBP Tucson OFO agents have increasingly apprehended record numbers of illegal border crossers. In fiscal 2024 through April, agents apprehended 28,292 illegal crossers, nearly the total for all of fiscal 2023 at 29,086. Most apprehended were single adults.

By comparison, agents apprehended 9,929 in fiscal 2022 and 6,659 in fiscal 2021.

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