NOGALES, Ariz — Fentanyl seizures continue to grow at the Arizona border, and a state port director says suspects are using new means to get them across.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection Director Michael Humphries for the Port of Nogales says smugglers are getting creative when it comes to sneaking drugs into Arizona.
"Anything you can imagine," he said.
It's not just coffee cans and car tires anymore. Humphries says they've had cases where officers have found narcotics in fully functioning car engines.
"We've had to completely disassemble engines to get to packages of narcotics with the engine running," Humphries says. Recently, they've seen thousands of fentanyl pills attempted to be smuggled in using working car batteries.
Humphries says, "You lift the hood of the vehicle, it looks like just a normal car battery sitting there."
The batteries are hollowed out Humphries says. They are then filled with narcotics. To get the batteries to work, smugglers place smaller batteries from a motorcycle or lawnmower so the car will temporarily run.
Humphries says, "They just really need it to start one time that they get sent down for inspection."
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, officers at the border have also seen an increase in the number of people trying to smuggle in drugs while on foot by taping the drugs on their legs or bodies. Last week, officers caught someone trying to smuggle fentanyl pills in their crutches.
The director also discussed what officers have seized from people going into Mexico.
They say fully automatic firearms and ammunition seizures have gone up significantly from last year and believe people are attempting to give those firearms to cartels and other criminal organizations in Mexico.
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