Over 1.1 million fentanyl pills seized at the Arizona-Mexico border in a week, border agents say

A surge of fentanyl is appearing around the Phoenix-area.
A surge of fentanyl is appearing around the Phoenix-area.(Arizona's Family)
Published: Oct. 28, 2022 at 11:15 AM MST
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NOGALES, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Over one million fentanyl pills were seized at the Nogales part of the Arizona/Mexico border in under one week, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

In a tweet, port director Michael Humpheries reported that agencies stopped two loads totaling just over 600,000 pills in 30 minutes on Thursday. The pills were reportedly attempting to be smuggled through the rear and quarter panels and wheel wells of a car. Similar drug busts were conducted a few days before on Saturday, where border agents stopped three different efforts to transport drugs. On Sunday, agents found meth in addition to the fentanyl pills. That one week alone totals at least 1,178,400 fentanyl pills

Fentanyl’s rise around the Phoenix-area

A number of record seizures are taking place in Arizona over recent months. Earlier this week, the Phoenix Police Department’s crime lab recovered the first batch of rainbow, multicolored fentanyl. Law enforcement agencies around the country have been seeing new types of pills that experts say are to attract a younger audience. Arizona’s Family recently spoke with the American Academy of Pediatrics, which says more children are using fentanyl, and they are seeing more cases of respiratory depression.

On Wednesday, a woman was arrested after her 12-year-old was found unresponsive in a Surprise hotel room where fentanyl and meth were found inside. Court documents later revealed that the child tested positive for fentanyl after the mother smoked powdered fentanyl in the room. That news came just days after infants in the Valley were found with fentanyl in their systems.

“It’s hard to avoid it and it’s also very sad,” Valley pediatrician Dr. Gary Kirkilas previously told Arizona’s Family Michael Raimondi. “Our youth can find it because it’s everywhere and it’s cheap enough they can purchase it.”

In Mesa, a smoke shop owner and employee were arrested after allegedly selling thousands of fentanyl pills to undercover officers. After the arrest, the owner told authorities that he often shipped 20,000 pills a week to New York and Virginia.

It’s not just the Valley, either. In Northern Arizona, Prescott Valley police said the drug contributed to a single-vehicle crash. Officers ultimately saved his life using Narcan. As of Friday morning, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office says they’ve seized 878,520 pills so far this year. “These statistics are shocking and signify many things,” said Sheriff David Rhodes.