Border Patrol agents find $200,000 of fentanyl disguised as groceries

Bags of fentanyl in front of grocery items
U.S. Border Patrol agents on Monday discovered 13 pounds of fentanyl — reportedly worth $200,000 on the street — at a freeway checkpoint in San Diego.
(U.S. Border Patrol)

It looked like a bag of groceries in the trunk: laundry detergent, a couple of cans of food, bags of flour, a box of instant mashed potatoes.

But the drug-sniffing dog was not fooled. Tucked inside that benign packaging was $200,000 worth of fentanyl.

U.S. Border Patrol agents based in San Diego discovered the drugs Monday in the trunk of a car at the checkpoint on Interstate 8 near Pine Valley, the agency said Tuesday in a media release.


At about 2 p.m., a woman in a blue 2013 Chevrolet Malibu pulled up to the checkpoint, the agency said. As agents questioned the 28-year-old driver, the dog went to work smelling the vehicle and got a hit.

A search of the car turned up a bag of groceries in the trunk. But hidden inside the otherwise unremarkable items were 39 packages that tested positive for fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 50 times more potent than heroin and perhaps 100 times more potent than morphine.

The agency said the drugs weighed more than 13 pounds.

Agents arrested the driver and seized the car. They handed over the fentanyl to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Plastic laundry tub slit open to reveal bags of fentanyl
This plastic tub of laundry detergent, slit open to reveal packages of fentanyl inside, was among items seized from a car at a Border Patrol checkpoint on Interstate 8.
(U.S. Border Patrol)

Figueroa writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.