NEW YORK (NewsNation) — A seizure of $5 million worth of fentanyl has revealed a new tactic cartels are using to smuggle drugs into the United States, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration said Wednesday.
Officials seized 300,000 fake oxycodone pills containing fentanyl and more than 11 pounds of powdered fentanyl from the gas tank of an SUV in the Bronx.
“This seizure demonstrates one of the many ways evil drug cartels, like the Sinaloa cartel, smuggle fentanyl from Mexico to major cities like New York for street distribution,” Frank Tarantino, the DEA special agent in charge, said in a statement.
The red Ford Expedition with Texas plates was stopped on Sunday, A DEA taskforce and NYPD officers found a hidden compartment leading to the gas tank from inside the SUV, prosecutors said.
Submerged in the tank, agents found the narcotics contained in vacuum-sealed packages.
Prosecutors believed the fentanyl seized originated in Mexico, and investigators said the vehicle has crossed the U.S.-Mexico border multiple times.
The driver was identified as Enrique Perez, 44, of Columbus, Ohio. He was arrested and charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance. Bail was set at $200,000.