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Press Release

Mexican National Sentenced to 108 Months Following Record-Breaking Seizure of Fentanyl and Meth

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of California

SAN DIEGO – Carlos Martin Quintana-Arias of Mexico was sentenced in federal court today to 108 months in prison in connection with the record-breaking seizure of 17,584 pounds of methamphetamine and 388.93 pounds of fentanyl from a commercial trailer attempting to enter the United States at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry.

The seizure, on November 18, 2021, was the nation’s largest in each drug category for the calendar years 2021 and 2022 so far, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

According to his plea agreement, Quintana-Arias admitted to driving the drug-laden tractor trailer into the United States through the Otay Mesa Port of Entry. He acknowledged that he knew the tractor trailer contained methamphetamine, fentanyl or some other federally controlled substance.

“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.” Grossman thanked the prosecution team and investigating agencies for their excellent work on this case.

“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. “HSI, along with our federal and local partners, is firmly committed to dismantling criminal organizations who blatantly ignore the laws of this nation.”

“The San Diego and Imperial Valley ports of entry account for approximately 61 percent of all the fentanyl CBP seizes nationwide,” stated Acting Director of Field Operations for the San Diego Field Office Anne Maricich. “This significant seizure exemplifies the hard work and dedication our officers have to the mission. It is our steadfast commitment to keeping dangerous narcotics like fentanyl and methamphetamine off the streets and out of our communities. The sentencing announced today by Judge Janis L. Sammartino is a result of strong multiagency cooperation and local departments working towards a common goal.”

DEFENDANT                                               Case Number 21-mj-4574-AHG

Carlos Martin Quintana-Arias                        Residence: Mexico


Title 21, U.S.C., Sections 952 and 960 Importation of a Controlled Substance

Maximum penalty: Forty years in prison and a mandatory minimum of five years; and $5 million fine


Homeland Security Investigations

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

*The charges and allegations contained in an indictment or complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.


Assistant U. S. Attorneys Amy B. Wang (619) 546-6968 and Adam Gordon (619) 546-6720

Updated October 14, 2022

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: CAS22-1014-Quintana-Arias