US CBP agents halt couple’s attempt to smuggle $1.1 million in fentanyl across state lines

El Centro Sector Border Patrol agents, arrested a couple transporting fentanyl from California to Arizona Monday morning.

Border Patrol agents assigned to the Indio Station Strike Team were observing traffic of the eastbound lanes of Interstate 10 when an SUV passed their position at a high rate of speed. Agents followed the vehicle for approximately 12 miles and observed the driver swerving in and out of lanes attempting to lose them.

A vehicle stop was initiated by agents near the Rice Road exit in Desert Center. The vehicle pulled over on the side of the road and agents questioned the driver and passenger who stated that they were on their way to Arizona to visit family. In the back seat, agents saw two plastic gas cans and a spare tire that did not fit the vehicle. The couple were questioned separately and gave conflicting stories about their travel. 

A K-9 unit was requested, and when it arrived, it alerted to the back seat of the vehicle. Upon further inspection the agents noticed anomalies on the floorboard and the gas tank sending unit. Agents opened the gas tank’s sending unit and noticed plastic wrapped packages floating inside. A total of 60 packages were removed from the gas tank, one of the packages was opened, which was filled with blue pills. Agents tested the blue pills, which were positive for fentanyl.

The total weight of fentanyl pills was 99.5 pounds with an estimated value of $1,128,500.

The driver an 18-year-old Mexican citizen, and passenger an 18-year-old U.S. citizen, along with the vehicle and narcotics were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration for further processing and investigation.