California

Tank of liquid that ‘did not look like gasoline’ led to driver’s drug arrest, border agents say

Meth is stronger, more dangerous than ever

David Fawcett, a therapist who works with people recovering from crystal meth addiction, talks about the purity of the drug now available and the effects it has on its users.
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David Fawcett, a therapist who works with people recovering from crystal meth addiction, talks about the purity of the drug now available and the effects it has on its users.

Border agents near California’s U.S.-Mexico border arrested a driver Sunday after finding cargo that “did not look like gasoline” in one of his gas tanks, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Rene Elizalde, a 22-year-old U.S. citizen, was driving his Ford F-250 pickup through the Highway 86 checkpoint shortly before 9 a.m. when one of border patrol’s drug-sniffing dogs homed in on the truck, the agency said in a news release on Monday. That signaled to an agent that the driver’s side of Elizalde’s 1997 truck should be inspected further.

Border patrol agents from the El Centro Sector’s Indio Station then stuck a fiber-scope camera into the tanks — and in one, they found a liquid that “yielded positive for the characteristics of methamphetamines,” according to Customs and Border Patrol.

“Liquid methamphetamine is an extremely dangerous form of the narcotic and thankfully our agents were able to prevent it from advancing further into the United States,” Chief Patrol Agent Gloria I. Chavez said in a statement. “Our communities are much safer with these drugs off our streets.”

Border agents said the drugs weighed 75 pounds and would have sold for nearly $200,000 on the street.

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Agents turned everything they found — the vehicle, the drugs and Elizalde himself — over to the Drug Enforcement Administration, according to the news release.

Drug makers and dealers sometimes dissolve meth in water so the potent drug is easier to transport in large shipments, according to University of Arizona educational materials on the illegal drug. Those transporting the liquid drugs can boil off the water, leaving behind solid drugs, once the liquid drugs make it through ports undetected.

“This stated, there have been reports of some consumers preferring the drug in liquid form,” the University of Arizona informational page on the liquid drug said.

Learn about the brain reward system and the biochemical processes that occur during methamphetamine use.

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