On the morning of Monday, February 20, 2023, an Arizona State Trooper initiated a traffic stop on the driver of a commercial motor vehicle on Mariposa Road east of Interstate 19 in Nogales, Arizona.
During the commercial vehicle inspection, the trooper observed several indicators of criminal activity. A subsequent search of the commercial vehicle led to the discovery of the following concealed within the semi-trailer:
- Approximately 1,035 pounds of suspected methamphetamine
- Approximately 173 pounds of suspected fentanyl pills (about 784,000 pills)
- Approximately 21.75 pounds of suspected cocaine
The driver, a 38-year-old male from Nogales, Sonora, was booked into the Santa Cruz County Detention Center on charges including possession and transportation of a narcotic drug for sale and possession and transportation of a dangerous drug for sale.
The street value of the methamphetamine seized is estimated at just over $1 million, while the estimated value for the fentanyl seized is approximately $3.1 million. The estimated street value of the cocaine is approximately $197,000.
This incident marked the second major drug seizure by Arizona State Troopers in a four-day period.
On Thursday, February 16, 2023, troopers seized 286 pounds of suspected fentanyl pills – about 1,297,000 pills – following a one-vehicle crash on Interstate 10 in Sacaton. The driver of the vehicle involved was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries. The estimated street value of the fentanyl seized in that incident was approximately $5.1 million.
In total, troopers have stopped the flow of more than an estimated two million fentanyl pills into Arizona communities within the past week.