Constable in El Paso Seizes Vehicle with 6 Kilos of Fentanyl Pills


EL PASO, Texas – An Arizona man and an El Paso woman are facing federal drug charges after a county constable stopped a vehicle in the Lower Valley carrying more than 6 kilograms of illegal fentanyl pills.

Thursday’s arrest of Gael Alejandro Carranza Gutierrez and Leslie Hernandez came after a confidential source alerted the FBI to a major drug buy taking place that day.

A criminal complaint filed June 3 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas alleges the agents learned Carranza would be transporting fentanyl from Arizona to an apartment on the 600 block of North Carolina Drive in El Paso prior to the buy. The FBI and local law enforcement set up surveillance in the area and followed a yellow Humvee with Texas license plates that left the apartment complex parking lot.

Records show an El Paso County constable stopped the Humvee driven by Hernandez for a traffic violation. The woman allegedly gave consent for the constable to search the vehicle. The constable recorded the traffic stop with a body camera and called for a U.S. Border Patrol canine unit to assist in the search.

The dog led law enforcement officers to a bag concealing 11 clear plastic bundles of pills believed to be fentanyl. The drugs had a total weight of 6.18 kilograms (13.6 pounds), court documents show. Officers arrested Hernandez and Carranza, who was a passenger in the Humvee.

In separate interviews with investigators, Carranza allegedly said he transported narcotics from Arizona to be delivered to a woman in El Paso. Hernandez allegedly told investigators she was supposed to deliver the narcotics to an unknown male and would be receiving a percentage of the money from the sale.

Fentanyl is an illicit synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin. Federal health officials have linked fentanyl to many of the 100,000-plus annual overdose deaths reported nationwide. The price of fentanyl pills varies widely depending on region and whether it is purchased wholesale by dealers or sold on retail on the streets.

Carranza and Hernandez have been charged with possession with intent to distribute fentanyl. They are scheduled to appear at a preliminary hearing June 6 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Miguel A. Torres in an El Paso federal courtroom.

Julian Resendiz
Julian Resendiz
Julian is a Texas journalist, writer covering the U.S.-Mexico border.

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