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$18 million dollars’ worth of methamphetamine hidden within a shipment of squash

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at the Otay Mesa Commercial Facility discovered $18 million dollars’ worth of methamphetamine hidden within a shipment of squash.

Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) revealed in a press release on Monday, at approximately 6:47 a.m.,that CBP officers encountered a 44-year-old male driving a commercial tractor-trailer with a shipment manifested for squash. The driver, a valid border crossing card holder, was referred for further examination by CBP officers along with the tractor-trailer and shipment.

Non-intrusive scanning technology was utilized to conduct a full scan of the tractor trailer which showed irregularities and CBP officers requested a CBP human and narcotics detection canine. The canine team responded and alerted officers to the presence of narcotics.

A total of 1,419 packages concealed within the shipment of squash was discovered and extracted. The narcotics were tested and identified as methamphetamine with a total weight of 11,469 pounds with an estimated street value of $18,350,400.

“Our officers’ commitment to duty, excellence, and the safety of our nation is truly commendable. These results serve as an outstanding display of effectiveness in thwarting the illegal importation of narcotics,” stated Rosa E. Hernandez, Otay Mesa Area Port Director. “Their exceptional efforts truly embody the highest standards of service.”

The seizures are part of Operation Apollo, a holistic counter-fentanyl effort that began on October 26, 2023 in southern California, and expanded to Arizona on April 10, 2024, the CBP release reveals. Operation Apollo focuses on intelligence collection and partnerships, and utilizes local CBP field assets augmented by federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial partners to boost resources, increase collaboration, and target the smuggling of fentanyl into the United States.

The CDC states that more than 150 people die every day from drug overdoses related to synthetic opioids derived from fentanyl.

 

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education

Report: Denver area migrants cost $340 million to shelter, educate

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A report by the free-market Common Sense Institute found the more than 42,000 migrants who have arrived in Denver over the last year and a half have cost the region as much as $340 million. The city of Denver, local school districts, and the region’s health-care system have spent between $216 million and $340 million combined to shelter, feed, clothe, and educate the migrants, and to provide them with emergency medical care.

National Review explains the report builds off a previous report from March that conservatively found that the migrants had cost the region at least $170 million. “Costs are never localized,” said DJ Summers, the institute’s research director. “They expand outward.”

Democratic leaders are being blamed for their welcoming posture toward immigrants generally, and their sanctuary-city policies, which curtail law enforcement’s ability to cooperate with federal immigration agents. Since late December 2022, at least 42,269 migrants — or “newcomers” as Denver leaders call them — have arrived in the city, adds National Review.

The Common Sense Institute report found that the migrant crisis has also hit local emergency rooms hard with extensive expenses. Since December 2022, migrants have made more than 16,000 visits to metro emergency departments. At an estimated cost of about $3,000 per visit, that has resulted in nearly $48 million in uncompensated care.

Summers said those costs are “stressing existing health care organizations,” but they also indirectly hit residents in their pocketbooks through increased insurance prices.

Metro school districts have endured the biggest financial hit — estimated between $98 million and $222 million — according to the Common Sense Institute report. The large range in costs is due to the difficulties researchers had identifying exactly how many new foreign students are tied to the migrant crisis.

The researchers found that since December 2022, 15,725 foreign students have enrolled in local schools. Of those, 6,929 have come from the five countries most closely identified with the migrant crisis — Venezuela, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

On average, it costs a little over $14,000 to educate a student for a year in a Denver-area public school, but Summers said migrant students likely cost more.

“They have transportation needs that are different, they have acculturation needs that are going to be different, language assistance needs that are going to be different,” he said. “Many of them might need to get up to speed in curriculum. They might need outside tutoring.”

Earlier this year, Colorado lawmakers approved $24 million in state funding to help school districts statewide plug budget holes related to the migrant students.

Summers said the updated Common Sense Institute tally is likely still missing some costs related to the ongoing migrant crisis.

“There are definitely additional costs. We just don’t have a great way to measure them just yet,” he said, noting legal fees, crime, and unreported business and nonprofit expenses.

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