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Border Patrol finds 29 lbs of fentanyl pills during traffic stop on Interstate 10 in Indio


29 pounds of fentanyl were discovered during a traffic stop on Interstate 10 in Indio, Border Patrol announced on Tuesday.

The discovery happened last Wednesday at around 9:30 AM near Golf Center Parkway.

Border Patrol agents in agency-marked vehicles were operating in conjunction with Operation Apollo on Interstate 10 near Golf Center Parkway.

According to the agency, the driver of a white SUV passed their position and applied their brakes. Agents followed the vehicle and conducted record checks. When the record checks came back, agents performed a vehicle stop.

The driver stopped on the side of the freeway and agents questioned the driver, who had two underage children with her. The trio claimed to be U.S. citizens, but record checks revealed that she was an undocumented person present in the U.S. The children were both U.S. citizens.

"The driver’s responses were inconsistent, therefore raising the agents’ suspicions," reads a CBP news release.

A K-9 search alerted agents to the rear seat area of the vehicle, where in plain sight agents observed a sealed box containing shelves. The box was found to contain a cellophane-wrapped package with approximately 29 pounds of blue fentanyl pills.

"This is enough to wipe out a city of 6.8 million people, or the whole population of Indiana," reads the CBP news release.

The driver was arrested and, along with the narcotics and vehicle, were turned over to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Bureau for further investigation.

The two children were turned over to their father.

"Border security professionals make apprehending dangerous drugs and people their personal responsibility here in the El Centro Sector," said Chief Patrol Agent Gregory Bovino. "This particular undocumented smuggler used two children in the smuggling scheme which is horrifying.  No regard for human life here folks, only greed." added Chief Bovino.

This seizure is the result of Operation Apollo, a holistic counter-fentanyl effort that began on October 26, 2023 in southern California, and expanded to Arizona on April 10, 2024.

Operation Apollo focuses on intelligence collection and partnerships and utilizes local CBP field assets augmented by federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial partners to boost resources, increase collaboration, and target the smuggling of fentanyl into the United States.  

Preliminary data released by the Riverside County Department of Public Health earlier this year showed that there were 388 confirmed fentanyl-related fatalities countywide in 2023, a 23% decline from 2022, when there were 503.

Fentanyl is manufactured in overseas labs, principally in China, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, which says the drug is smuggled across the U.S.-Mexico border by cartels.

Fentanyl is 80-100 times more potent than morphine and can be mixed into any number of street narcotics and prescription drugs, without a user knowing what he or she is consuming. Ingestion of only two milligrams can be fatal.

Fentanyl is the leading cause of death for Americans between 18 and 45 years old.

Article Topic Follows: Fentanyl Crisis

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Jesus Reyes


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