Massive fentanyl seizure: More than $21 million worth of pills discovered hidden in green bean shipment

OTAY MESA, Calif. – It’s not every day that a shipment of green beans makes headlines, but this week a delivery of the nutritious vegetable turned out to be hiding something far more dangerous. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials made a startling discovery at the Otay Mesa port in San Diego, California on Monday. A shipment of green beans that arrived in California from Mexico was found to contain more than 3.5 million fentanyl pills with an estimated street value of $21.1 million.

During a routine inspection of a tractor-trailer driven by a 48-year-old man, CBP officials conducted a “non-intrusive inspection” of the cargo and discovered “irregularities.” A narcotic detection team was brought in and found the fentanyl pills hidden in 308 packages weighing more than 776 pounds.

The driver of the tractor-trailer has been detained on allegations of attempted narcotic smuggling and is now in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

This seizure is not the first time that fentanyl has been found hidden in food shipments. Last year CBP officers found 46 packages containing fentanyl hidden within flour bags, ground coffee cans, creamer cans, and powdered milk cans.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. Even in small doses, it can be deadly. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 150 Americans die daily from overdoses related to synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Drugs may contain lethal levels of fentanyl, and you wouldn’t be able to see it, taste it, or smell it.

This seizure and arrest come as U.S. officials continue to warn about the potential impacts of the drug. Fentanyl has become a significant contributor to the opioid epidemic that has devastated communities across the United States.

CBP officials say that the investigation is ongoing and are working to identify the individuals behind the attempted smuggling operation. The seizure of these fentanyl pills may have saved countless lives and prevented a significant amount of harm from being inflicted on communities throughout the United States.