A commercial trailer driver was sentenced on Friday in federal court to 180 months in prison for transporting a record-breaking amount of methamphetamine and fentanyl while attempting to enter through the Otay Mesa Port of Entry.
Carlos Martin Quintana-Arias of Mexico admitted to knowingly driving the commercial trailer loaded with 17,584 pounds of methamphetamine and 388.93 pounds of fentanyl through the Otay Mesa Port of Entry. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection call this seizure the nation’s largest in drug category for calendar years 2021 and 2022.
“This massive seizure prevented a huge quantity of deadly drugs from saturating our community,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. “Because of the vigilance of border officials, this fentanyl did not kill anyone, and this meth did not destroy even one life. We will continue to work with dedication and passion to intercept these drugs and prosecute the traffickers because drug seizures mean lives are saved,” said Grossman.
Prosecutors allege Quintana-Arias' manifest indicated his trailer contained auto body parts, but “anomalies'' were detected in the trailer by both an X-Ray machine and a drug dog on scene.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said officials found 6,266 packages of drugs inside the trailer, which also contained “a few'' automotive body parts.
Quintana-Arias is subject to a maximum penalty is forty years in prison and a mandatory minimum of five years; and a $5 million fine.
“This was a brazen attempt to smuggle a record amount of deadly narcotics into our country, and as this sentencing reflects, those persons looking to make a quick profit from narcotics smuggling will be vigorously investigated and prosecuted,” said Chad Plantz, special agent in charge, HSI San Diego.