$3M of Meth Packed as Onions Apprehended at US Southern Border
© AP Photo / Eric GayBorder Patrol agents hold a news conference prior to a media tour of a new U.S. Customs and Border Protection temporary facility near the Donna International Bridge in Donna, Texas, May 2, 2019.
© AP Photo / Eric Gay
Drug smuggling has been at the center of the US border crisis, with official reports stating that there has been a 1,066 percent increase in the amount of fentanyl seized in Texas over the past fiscal year.
A smuggler from Mexico attempted to cross the US border with huge amounts of methamphetamines disguised as onion shipments, the US Customs and Border Protection reported on Friday.
The elaborate smuggling effort even impressed US border patrol officials, who described it as “not only a clever attempt to try and smuggle in narcotics, one I haven’t seen before, but also time-consuming to wrap narcotics into these small packages, designed to look like onions,” according to Sidney Aki, the Director of Field Operations in San Diego for US Customs and Border Protection.
“While we have certainly seen narcotics in produce before, it’s unusual for us to see this level of detail in the concealment,” he said.
The agency noted that the illicit substances were examined by a CBP canine team and “the detector dog alerted to the shipment.”
The drugs were wrapped in a total of 1,197 packages and mixed with real onions. The round-shaped packages weighing about 1,336 pounds were estimated to be worth $2.9 million.
11 January 2022, 14:03 GMT
The shipment was detected in the back of a tractor-trailer by K9 units at the Otay Mesa border crossing between Tijuana and San Diego. The driver, a 46-year-old Mexican, was arrested and handed over to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Homeland Security for further investigation.
Meanwhile, drug overdose deaths in the US continue to hit record peaks, with fatal fentanyl overdoses named as the leading cause of death among US citizens aged 18 to 45, according to US government data analysis. Nearly 79,000 people in this age group — 37,208 in 2020 and 41,587 in 2021 — have died from fentanyl use, amounting to 64 percent of total drug fatalities, according to Families Against Fentanyl.
Last year, the US Congress required the CBP to prepare a plan to increase the capacity for 100 percent checks of arriving vehicles, as currently fewer than 5 percent of them are typically screened by the CBP, according to The Washington Post.