Worth a Hill of Beans: Border Officers Find $21 Million Worth of Fentanyl in Green Bean Shipment

Customs and Border Protection officers search for fentanyl / Getty Images
April 19, 2023

Customs and Border Protection officers at the border city of Otay Mesa, Calif., found 3,520,000 fentanyl pills concealed within a shipment of green beans, the agency reported Tuesday. The pills have an estimated street value of $21,120,000.

CBP officers on Monday did an agriculture inspection of a tractor trailer holding a shipment labeled as green beans, the agency said, but found "irregularities" and began narcotics testing:

CBP officers discovered and extracted a total of 308 packages concealed within the shipment of green beans. The narcotics were tested and identified as fentanyl pills with a total weight of 776.03 pounds. …

The driver was detained for the alleged narcotic smuggling attempt and was turned over to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

CBP officers seized the tractor, trailer, and narcotics.

The news comes as the United States faces a fentanyl crisis, with overdoses of the synthetic opioid killing more Americans than the Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan wars combined. More than 100,000 Americans died from overdoses in 2021 alone. Both fentanyl seizures and overdoses have spiked under the Biden administration, which has overseen the largest border crisis in U.S. history, the Washington Free Beacon reported.

Since President Joe Biden took office, more than 5.5 million illegal immigrants have crossed the U.S.-Mexico border.

A senior Department of Homeland Security official told the Free Beacon in 2021 that drug cartels are exploiting the Biden administration's lax border policies to expand drug smuggling, saying administration officials "own these failures."

While CBP officers were able to stop the green bean shipment, they may not have the tools to stop others. Senate Democrats in 2021 blocked an amendment that would have provided hundreds of millions of dollars in "opioid detection activities" at the southern border.