EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — A former Mexican police officer who now lives in Arizona allegedly tried to smuggle fentanyl across the country, the Department of Justice said.
A federal grand jury in Amarillo indicted 30-year-old Assmir Contreras-Martinez on charges of conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute fentanyl, according to a news release.
On May 19, a Texas DPS trooper stopped Contreras-Martinez in Amarillo. After searching his SUV, investigators say the trooper found 73 pounds of fentanyl in powder form. Contreras-Martinez allegedly admitted he was paid $6,000 to transport the drugs from California to Florida, adding that it was his second such trip.
According to DEA experts, fentanyl is a powerful synthetic narcotic 50 times more potent than heroin. The amount of fentanyl Contreras-Martinez allegedly possessed was “likely enough to kill more than 10 million people,” the release said.
“Fentanyl is devastating communities across the country,” U.S. Attorney Nealy Cox said in a statement.“We cannot tolerate the trafficking of this deadly drug … especially by those who are charged with protecting our communities, foreign or domestic.”
Contreras-Martinez, who allegedly admitted to being in the U.S. illegally, was a municipal police officer for eight years in Cananea, in the Mexican state of Sonora. If convicted, he faces 30 years to life in federal prison and may face deportation proceedings after serving his sentence.