Border agents stop woman’s attempt to smuggle 93 pounds of fentanyl, officials say


INDIO, Calif. — A woman is accused of trying to smuggle more than 93 pounds of fentanyl pills in Southern California, authorities said.

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According to a news release from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the woman was arrested on May 14 at about 10:50 a.m. PDT.

Border Patrol agents had observed a “suspicious” blue sedan heading west on Interstate 10. They conducted a traffic stop near the westbound exit ramp of Golf Center Parkway in Indio, and discovered a woman and her teenage son in the vehicle.

It was unclear what made the border agents suspicious about the vehicle.

A canine detection team arrived at the scene, and an initial search of the vehicle revealed one blue pill, according to the news release. The pill possessed characteristics consistent with illicit fentanyl pills.

Agents transported the vehicle to a nearby Border Patrol station for a more extensive inspection.

An inspection of the vehicle revealed “suspicious tool markings” on the bolts that held the vehicle’s seats in place, the release stated.

When the seats were removed, several large bags containing thousands of blue pills were discovered in a non-factory compartment. A sample of the pills tested positive for fentanyl.

The total weight of the pills confiscated was 93.3 pounds, officials said.

The driver, a U.S. citizen, was arrested and turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration for further investigation, along with the vehicle and narcotics. The driver’s son was released to “an appropriate party,” officials said.

“Indio Station Border Patrol agents assigned to the Anti-Smuggling Unit just did what the Border Patrol has done for a century,” El Centro Chief Patrol Agent Gregory K. Bovino said in a statement. “They protected America from bad things and bad people; in this case a suspected smuggler who endangered a juvenile in a quest to spread deadly drugs into our communities.

“We look forward to teaming up with both the excellent prosecutors at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Central District of California and the equally adept Drug Enforcement Administration, Los Angeles Field Office to provide meaningful consequences to this suspected smuggler.”

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