Jan. 31 (UPI) -- U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents thwarted an attempt to transport more than 250 pounds of fentanyl and 395 pounds of methamphetamine over the southern border, the agency announced Thursday.
The agents discovered the narcotics -- worth a combined $4.7 million -- Saturday in hidden compartments in a tractor trailer carrying cucumbers from Mexico. The bust happened at the Nogales Port of Entry in Arizona.
"This amount of fentanyl our CBP officers prevented from entering our country equates to an unmeasurable dangerous amount of an opioid that could have harmed so many families," Nogales Port Director Michael Humphries said Thursday during a news conference announcing the seizure.
It was the third largest meth seizure at port of entry in Arizona.
The CBP said a canine team alerted agents to the smell of illegal substances. Agents discovered the hidden compartments during an X-ray scan of the vehicle.
Agents arrested the driver, a 26-year-old Mexican national, and charged him with two counts of possession with intent to distribute.
President Donald Trump has cited the smuggling of drugs as a reason for his desire to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. A $5.7 billion funding request to build the wall prompted a 35-day government shutdown that ended Friday.
"Without a Wall our Country can never have Border or National Security. With a powerful Wall or Steel Barrier, Crime Rates (and Drugs) will go substantially down all over the U.S," Trump said in a tweet posted Jan. 22.
Much of the drug smuggling across the border, though, is done by U.S. citizens crossing at legal points of entry. KGUN-TV in Tucson reported most seizures happen at the ports of entry because smugglers carrying larger loads of drugs must depend on vehicles and roads to transport the drugs.
Last year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention blamed fentanyl and other opioids for driving up drug-related deaths by 45 percent between 2016 and 2017.