California Checkpoint Bust: U.S. Citizen Arrested for Smuggling $130k in Fentanyl Pills

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In a significant interception, a U.S. citizen was apprehended at a California checkpoint for attempting to smuggle a whopping $130,000 worth of fentanyl pills. The incident unfolded at the El Centro Sector checkpoint in Indio, where Border Patrol agents acted swiftly to thwart the illegal activity.

The suspect, traveling as a passenger in a ride-share vehicle with four others, drew attention during the inspection at Highway 86 near the Salton Sea. Following standard protocol, the vehicle was directed to the secondary inspection area for further investigation.

Utilizing a K-9 team specialized in concealed humans and narcotics detection, authorities sought permission from the ride-share driver to search the vehicle. The K-9’s keen senses led them to the trunk, where several bags were discovered.

More notably, a backpack and a speaker in the possession of a passenger, identified only as a U.S. citizen, triggered alerts.

California Checkpoint Bust: U.S. Citizen Arrested for Smuggling $130k in Fentanyl Pills

Upon closer examination, Border Patrol agents uncovered several wrapped packages consistent with packaging commonly used for transporting illegal narcotics. A subsequent sample test from one of these packages confirmed the presence of fentanyl.

The seized packages contained a staggering 9.7 pounds of fentanyl pills, estimated at a street value of $130,000, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

In line with their commitment to combating the threat of fentanyl and other illicit synthetic narcotics, this operation is part of Operation Apollo. This joint regional initiative involves collaboration between federal, state, and local agencies.

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The arrested individual and the confiscated drugs were handed over to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for further legal proceedings.

Notably, this successful bust aligns with recent achievements at the checkpoint, where agents also apprehended a federal probation violator, a criminal with a no-bail felony warrant, and seized marijuana, meth, and a substantial amount of cash totaling $31,794 in separate incidents over the past few days.

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