California leads the country in meth and fentanyl border seizures by CBP

Customs and Border Protection agent
CBP agents in California seized more than 80,000 pounds of methamphetamine in fiscal 2019.
(John Gibbins / San Diego Union-Tribune)

More than 60% of methamphetamine seized by Customs and Border Protection across the country came through California ports, according to data from the federal agency.

During fiscal 2019, which ended Sept. 30, CBP agents in California seized more than 80,000 pounds of methamphetamine at the border.

That figure accounted for 63% of all methamphetamine seized by CBP agents nationwide last fiscal year and represented a 66% increase from the amount seized in California in the previous fiscal year.


“Some of these numbers are staggering,” said Pete Flores, director of field operations for CBP in San Diego.

Ten years ago, Flores said, CBP agents in California seized less than 4,000 pounds of methamphetamine.

“These impressive results should be credited to the men and women serving on the front lines at our ports of entry,” Flores said. “Their daily efforts secure our nation’s borders while facilitating the flow of legitimate travel and trade.”

The amount of fentanyl seized at the border by CBP agents in California — who inspect ports of entry in San Ysidro, Otay Mesa, Tecate, Calexico and Andrade — also rose last fiscal year.

Agents seized 1,472 pounds of the drug in fiscal 2019, a 32% increase from the year before. That figure also accounted for 47% of all fentanyl seized by CBP along the border nationwide.


Although methamphetamine and fentanyl were the fastest-growing types of narcotic seized along the California portion of the U.S.-Mexico border, marijuana continues to be the single largest type of drug seized, data show.

CBP agents seized more than 112,000 pounds of marijuana in fiscal 2019. In the previous year, that number was 106,000 pounds.

While drug seizures increased, the number of people apprehended along the border decreased, data show.

Agents apprehended 33,466 “inadmissible aliens,” or people who do not have the proper documents to enter the United States, in fiscal 2019. That was a 6% decrease from the previous year.

CBP agents inspected more than 78 million people as they came from Mexico to California throughout fiscal 2019.

Solis writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.