A 16-year-old Tucson girl in a commercial shuttle attempted to smuggle approximately 9 ounces of fentanyl through the Interstate 19 Immigration Checkpoint early Wednesday evening by hiding the drugs under her clothing.
During an immigration inspection of the shuttle’s passengers, a female Border Patrol agent selected the teen for further questioning and later discovered she was attempting to conceal a small package in her bra. After the teen surrendered the package, agents determined it contained multiple capsules of fentanyl.
The agent then arrested the teen for narcotics smuggling and transported her to the Nogales Border Patrol Station for processing. The case was later turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.
According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, “Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid analgesic similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent. … The high potency of fentanyl greatly increases risk of overdose, especially if a person who uses drugs is unaware that a powder or pill contains fentanyl. Fentanyl sold on the street can be mixed with heroin or cocaine, which markedly amplifies its potency and potential dangers.” (Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.)
CBP’s fentanyl seizures have more than tripled since fiscal year 2015. Due to fentanyl’s potency, there is heightened concern about exposure to frontline, emergency responders and law enforcement officers across the country.