Authorities recently arrested an illegal immigrant and two co-conspirators at a border checkpoint for attempting to smuggle a large shipment of heroin into the U.S.
Agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection stopped three individuals July 10 at an immigration checkpoint near Alamogordo, New Mexico, for a routine vehicle inspection. A subsequent search revealed seven kilos, or roughly 15 pounds of heroin stashed inside the car, reports the Artesia Daily Press.
Border Patrol agents arrested 18-year-old Goretty Aguirre, a Mexican national, along with 18-year-old El Paso, Texas, residents Mario Chavez Jr. and Nicholas Ramon Diaz. Chavez Jr. allegedly drove the vehicle while Aguirre and Diaz road as passengers. (RELATED: CDC Warns Of ‘Dramatic Rise’ In Synthetic Opioid Deaths Over 2017)
The group are charged with conspiracy and possession of heroin with intent to distribute, which could put them away for 10 years to life if convicted.
Large quantities of narcotics continue to infiltrate the U.S. due to the relentless efforts of traffickers, however, authorities are stepping up efforts to interdict the dangerous substances, particularly opioids.
Border patrol agents stopped an unnamed 42-year-old woman at the Nogales Station immigration checkpoint July 11 as she was crossing in a van for a routine secondary immigration inspection. Agents found four packages of heroin hidden in her clothing during a subsequent search of the woman.
The woman, who faces charges for drug smuggling, was turned over to investigators at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Opioid seizures by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents nearly doubled from 579 pounds in 2013 to 1,135 pounds in 2017, a recent report from Democratic Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill shows.
Heroin continues to be the most common opioid coming across the border, with seizures increasing by 73 percent in 2017 to 662 pounds. Seizures of fentanyl, a synthetic painkiller roughly 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine, rose by 72 percent in 2017.
Drug overdoses, fueled by opioids, are now the leading cause of accidental death for Americans under age 50, killing more than 64,000 people in 2016.
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