Carlos Martin Quintana-Arias of Mexico was sentenced Friday in federal court to nine years imprisonment in connection with the largest seizure of 17,584 pounds of methamphetamine and 388.93 pounds of fentanyl from a commercial tractor-trailer trying to enter the United States through Otay Mesa Port of Entry. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said that the Nov. 18, 2021 seizure was the largest in each drug category for 2021 and 2022.

On his plea agreement, Quintana-Arias confessed to driving the drug-laden tractor-trailer into the United States through the Otay Mesa Port of Entry and acknowledged that he knew the vehicle contained methamphetamine, fentanyl, or some other federally controlled substance at that time.

According to the press relase by the Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney's Office for Southern District of California, Randy Grossman said the massive seizure stopped a huge amount of deadly drugs from permeating the community. He added that because of the border officials' vigilance, the fentanyl did not kill anyone, and this meth did not destroy even one life. He promised to continue working with dedication and passion to stop these drugs and indict traffickers because drug seizures saves lives.

Meanwhile, the prosecutors stated that Quintana-Arias’ truck was said to be carrying auto body parts. However, the officers at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry detected the anomalies in the vehicle by using an X-ray machine and drug dog. That is when the authorities found 6,266 packages of drugs inside the trailer, which also possessed a few automotive body parts. The authorities discovered 6,106 packages with substances that tested positive for methamphetamine, while 160 packages contained substances that tested positive for fentanyl, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

Fox News reported that Chad Plantz, a special agent in charge for Homeland Security Investigations in San Diego, said this was a brazen attempt to smuggle a record-breaking amount of deadly narcotics into the U.S., and as the sentencing reflected, those who were looking to make a quick profit from narcotics smuggling would be vigorously investigated and prosecuted. He added that the HSI, along with federal and local partners, is firmly committed to eliminating criminal institutions that blatantly disregard the laws of this nation.

Moreover, acting Director of Field Operations for the San Diego Field Office Anne Maricich said that the San Diego and Imperial Valley ports of entry account for about 61% of all the fentanyl CBP seizes nationwide. She added that the sentencing announced by Judge Janis L. Sammartino is a result of a strong multi-agency partnership and local departments operating towards a common goal.

Representational image. Getty Images

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