EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — A 47-year-old American attempted to smuggle a load of fentanyl by strapping bundles of the powerful drug to his ankles and walking through an El Paso port of entry in the early hours of Halloween, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a news release.
The man was in the pedestrian lanes when CBP officers referred him to a secondary inspection at about 2 a.m. Saturday at the Paso Del Norte Bridge in Downtown El Paso.
Border officers said they found fentanyl-filled bundles stapped to his ankles. In all, officials said, the man was carrying 2.6 pounds of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that can be 80 to 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than many forms of heroin.
“Smugglers are continually changing their methods in an attempt to defeat the CBP inspection process,” CBP El Paso Port Director Ray Provencio said in a statement. “The experience, training, and vigilance of our CBP officers was critical to stopping this smuggling attempt.”
On Sunday, a drug-sniffing dog at the Ysleta Port of Entry alerted border officers to a 17-year-old boy who allegedly hid methamphetamine in his shoes and clothing, CBP says.
The man accused of smuggling fentanyl was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations to face charges for the failed smuggling attempt.
Illegal versions of fentanyl are responsible for the tripling of overdose deaths from synthetic opioids in just two years, CBP officials said.