Two Major Fentanyl Pills Seizures at U.S. – Mexico Border Crossing In One Week

Bag of seized counterfeit fentanyl pills
Source: U.S. Attorney’s Office

Two significant fentanyl pill seizures have already come out of one California border crossing so far this month. The first incident happened on just the first day of the month. The Los Angeles Times reported on the arrest at the San Ysidro Port of Entry of a U.S. citizen living in Tijuana who was in possession almost 11,500 fentanyl pills. Authorities found Cristian Araujo Aguirre attempting to drive across the border with the fentanyl pills plus other drugs. Customs and Border Protection noticed abnormalities in the vehicle and a search revealed the drugs. In the left rear quarter panel, officers found two bags and a box filled with a total of 11,490 fentanyl pills made to resemble oxycodone. According to U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman’s office, this seizure was “believed to be [the] largest port seizure of fentanyl pills across the Southwest border of the U.S.”

As reported by The San Diego Union-Tribune, that potential largest fentanyl pill port seizure ever was dwarfed by another early on August 8th when authorities discovered over 20,000 pills made to resemble 30-milligram oxycodone, but that tested positive for fentanyl. Law enforcement arrested Fernando Jesus Peraza, a 38-year-old U.S. citizen living in Tijuana, as he tried to cross the border into the United States at 2:30 AM with the pills hidden in the vehicle he was driving. Braverman said, “I’m relieved that these pills are off the streets because of the vigilant work of law enforcement. But that relief is tempered by the fact that people are overdosing every day because they took fentanyl-laced pills just like these, oblivious to the deadly consequences.” Peraza pleaded not guilty at his initial court appearance.

In a different kind of record-breaking fentanyl case in the area, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported on the more than seven-year sentence handed down to a 20-year-old Tijuana student caught trying to smuggle over 77 pounds of fentanyl powder into the U.S. Flavio Diego Rivera Davalos pleaded guilty in March, admitting he attempted to drive a vehicle through the San Ysidro Port of Entry with the fentanyl powder in his car. In a March trial brief, federal prosecutors stated that this was the largest single fentanyl powder seizure at any port of entry. The previous record came from another vehicle with more than 66 pounds of fentanyl attempting to cross into the United States at the San Ysidro Port of Entry in June of 2017.