Customs and Border Protection officers at the Port of Nogales arrested a Mexican woman on Monday for attempting to smuggle nearly five pounds of fentanyl.
Officers at the Morley pedestrian crossing referred a 24-year-old woman pushing a stroller with her two young children for further inspection.
A CBP narcotics detection canine alerted to the stroller when the woman removed the infant girl from the stroller.
Due to the dangers of the drug, officers had to use personal protective equipment to remove the drugs.
CBP officers seized the drugs, and turned the subject over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.
The children were turned over to the subject’s mother.
According to the DEA, fentanyl is a synthetic opioid legally used by medical professionals to treat extreme pain associated with terminal cancer and end of life.
It is approximately 100 times more potent than morphine, and is commonly mixed with heroin or sold disguised as heroin to increase the potency.
“The majority of heroin-related death cases we investigate are a result of fentanyl being added to or replacing what the victims think is heroin,” said Thomas Fallon, Investigative Commander of the Hamilton County Heroin Task Force.
“Last year Hamilton County had 255 deaths as a result of accidental overdose involving fentanyl. The same year, 216 people died from overdosing on heroin.”
In addition to being deadly to users, fentanyl poses a grave threat to law enforcement officials and first responders, as a lethal dose of fentanyl can be accidentally inhaled or absorbed through the skin.
Canine units are particularly at risk of immediate death from inhaling fentanyl.
In May 2016, Cincinnati CBP officers seized a shipment of furanyl fentanyl coming from China. Furanyl fentanyl is a variant of fentanyl designed as an attempt to avoid detection by law enforcement.
This particular shipment was addressed to a residence in New Jersey, another region threatened by increasing heroin-related overdose deaths.
“Narcotics interdiction is an enforcement priority for our officers, and fentanyl is definitely on our radar,” said Cincinnati Port Director Richard L. Gillespie.
“We are committed to working with our local, national, and international law enforcement counterparts to keep these extremely dangerous drugs off the street.”
To learn more about the fentanyl threat to law enforcement, please visit https://americansecuritytoday.com/dea-warning-police-public-fentanyl-exposure-kills/