San Diego CBP Officers Intercept Over $1.7 Million in Narcotics in One Month

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In a series of targeted operations this past month, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in San Diego intercepted narcotics worth approximately $1.75 million. The drugs were seized during 12 separate incidents involving suspects attempting to cross into the U.S. through various ports of entry on foot. Shockingly, the individuals caught in these smuggling attempts were young, ranging from 14 to 21 years old.

Drug Traffickers Exploit Youth

According to Sidney Aki, CBP Director of Field Operation for San Diego, these incidents highlight a disturbing trend where drug trafficking organizations exploit younger individuals. “It is evident that drug trafficking organizations continue to prey upon and exploit our youth,” Aki noted. He emphasized the importance of educating juveniles about the severe risks and consequences associated with smuggling narcotics.

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Details of the Seizures

The narcotics captured by CBP officers included a diverse array of illegal substances:

  • 3.85 pounds of cocaine
  • 45.17 pounds of methamphetamine
  • Approximately 79,300 fentanyl pills

The total estimated street value of these drugs reached a staggering $1,755,500. The suspects apprehended in these smuggling attempts were arrested and handed over to Homeland Security Investigations for further probing.

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Strategic Operations and Community Engagement

These drug seizures occurred at the San Diego Field Office, which includes the San Ysidro, Otay Mesa, and other notable ports of entry. The field office has been actively working with various federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to intensify efforts against drug smuggling. Noteworthy among these efforts is the engagement with the youth through CBP’s Border Community Liaison and School Resource Programs, which aim to educate young individuals about the dangers of drug trafficking.

Impact of Operation Apollo

These successful seizures are part of Operation Apollo, a comprehensive counter-fentanyl initiative launched on October 26, 2023, in Southern California, and later expanded to Arizona on April 10, 2024. Operation Apollo is centered around enhancing intelligence gathering, fostering partnerships, and bolstering local CBP field assets with support from federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial partners. This collaborative effort aims to curb the flow of fentanyl and other narcotics into the United States.

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The Ongoing Fentanyl Crisis

The urgency of these operations is underscored by statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which report that over 150 Americans die each day due to overdoses related to synthetic opioids like fentanyl. This crisis highlights the critical need for continued and enhanced efforts to combat drug smuggling and misuse.

The San Diego CBP is committed to continuing its vigilant efforts against drug trafficking. With ongoing community engagement and strategic operations like Operation Apollo, the agency aims to mitigate the risks posed by narcotics smuggling. By targeting the entry points and educating potential young smugglers about the consequences, CBP strives to protect communities and save lives from the devastating impact of drug abuse.

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