Couple busted with $1.5M in fentanyl near border

$1.5 million in fentanyl, found stashed in a couple's SUV on the freeway in Otay Mesa (Photo: SDSO)

SAN DIEGO — A woman and her boyfriend were behind bars Thursday after allegedly being caught transporting more than 20 kilograms of powdered fentanyl — an illicit drug haul valued at $1.5 million — on an Otay Mesa freeway.

Marilu Escamilla, 24, was pulled over for speeding in a 2004 Mitsubishi Endeavor on westbound state Route 905 on Wednesday afternoon, according to sheriff’s officials.

After a service dog alerted deputies to the presence of possible contraband in the small SUV, they searched it and found the large drug stash “deeply concealed within the vehicle,” Sgt. William Kerr said.

Escamilla and her passenger, 36-year-old Fernando Camargo, were arrested and booked into county jail on suspicion of illegally possessing and transporting a controlled substance.

Seizures of large quantities of fentanyl, a powerful and frequently deadly synthetic opioid, have become increasingly common in the San Diego area, according to Kerr.

“Law enforcement … regularly encounters counterfeit Oxycodone and Xanax pills (that) contain fentanyl,” the sergeant said. “Due to a lack of quality control by the drug suppliers, the fentanyl dosage in the pills can vary and lead to unintentional use and accidental exposure, often leading to overdose and death.”

Escamilla and Camargo were each being held on $750,000 bail pending arraignment, scheduled for Friday afternoon.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.