Home of Lisa's Top Ten, the daily email that brings you the world.
The first task of the day

Sign Up for Lisa's Top Ten


Drug Cartels Finding New and Innovative Ways to Smuggle Drugs into the U.S.

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent searches an automobile for contraband in the line to enter the United States at the San Ysidro Port of Entry in October 2019 in San Ysidro, Calif. / AFP via Getty Images
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent searches an automobile for contraband in the line to enter the United States at the San Ysidro Port of Entry in October 2019 in San Ysidro, Calif. / AFP via Getty Images

Violent drug cartels are finding new and innovative ways to traffic drugs across the United States-Mexico border, allowing for new avenues for fentanyl and other illegal substances to come into the States. According to recent reports, Border patrol officials have found illegal substances packed into ordinary objects like coconuts, crutches, car batteries, coffee cans, and even food items like carrots and shipped into the homeland.

On Twitter, Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) Port Director Michael W. Humphries posted a photograph of 14,000 fentanyl pills hidden in medical crutches. Through K9 and X-Ray examinations, the CBP was able to find the drugs.

This week, CBP officials engaged in a historic fentanyl and methamphetamine bust at the Andrade Port of Entry in San Diego, California, seizing more than 54 pounds of fentanyl and 32 pounds of meth hidden in the fuel tank of a vehicle driven by an American citizen.

"This amount of fentanyl had the potential to kill over 50 million people. We continue to take the fight to the cartels and narcotics smugglers," said Border Patrol reports.

According to reports, the agents used X-rays and K9 teams with CBP officers at different ports of entry have successfully stopped around 21.6 million illegal fentanyl drugs from coming into the country this fiscal year, including thousands of fentanyl pills hidden in various parts of vehicles and mundane objects.

Officials note that concealing drugs is not a new strategy for drug cartels bringing their products over the border.

Many cartels have come with new places to hide their illegal drugs in the past several months, leading border agents to search for them.

In 2016, several tons of marijuana were found in a shipment of fake carrots, and in 2020, Border agents found around $61 million in illegal pot and methamphetamine inside fruit containers.

In 2020, agents also found around $1.4 million worth illegal meth in a shipment of green onions.

In August of 2022, agents removed 14,000 inside a set of medical crutches. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), officials have witnessed drugs smuggled in candies like lollipops, furniture items, wax candles, lawn ornaments, pet food, and vehicles.

Officials note that border states like Arizona say 52 percent of narcotics have been seized by agents at ports of entry, with 48 percent found after being smuggled. On Twitter, Port Director Humphries posted a photograph of drugs that agents found seven loads of 48 pounds of meth and approximately 597,640 fentanyl pills.

Border officials working along the border say that the operations have been a success for law enforcement when they can prevent drug smuggling operations, but that does not translate into a loss for the cartels, who have been coming back with newer ideas to smuggle.

According to Director Humphries, recently CBP officials have seized seven loads of narcotic traffickers trying to come to the U.S. Around 600,000 fentanyl pills were discovered in cars and inside the bodies of drug cartels.

Despite claiming that the border is secure, the Biden administration continues to face blowback from lawmakers in Congress and states and local officials in places like Texas and Arizona for not handling the situation. In the House of Representatives, Republican lawmakers have called on U.S. Sec. of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas to answer questions related to border security, with some officials calling for his resignation over his lack of action.

Related Story: Former DEA Official Backs Military Intervention to Address Fentanyl Crisis

Related Posts