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Undocumented immigrant arrested in Harrison County for trafficking fentanyl

Deputies with the Harrison County Sheriff's Office found over 100,000 pills containing fentanyl when they pulled over Francisco Antonio Castillo Mendoza (Photo courtesy of HCSO)

The Harrison County Sheriff’s Office has taken into custody a Mexican man accused of trafficking fentanyl.

On Tuesday at 11:25 a.m., deputies pulled over a white Volkswagen SUV driven by Francisco Antonio Castillo Mendoza, of Sonora, Mexico, in the parking lot of a Domino’s Pizza for careless driving. As the officer approached the vehicle, he noticed behavior indicative or criminal wrongdoing.

The HCSO then brought out a canine to conduct an open-air sniff of the vehicle resulting in a positive response for the presence of controlled substances. A probable cause search then ensued leading to the discovery of a cardboard box in the rear cargo area that contained several packages of suspected fake pills. Upon further examination, investigating deputies and agents determined the packages contained more than 100,000 pills that later tested positive for fentanyl.

Francisco Antonio Castillo Mendoza (Photo courtesy of HCSO)

A further inquiry on Mendoza revealed that he was in the country illegally. Agents of the U.S. Border Patrol and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration responded to assist and further the investigation. A detainer was placed on Mendoza for immigration violations.

Based on the findings, Mendoza was arrested and charged with aggravated trafficking of a controlled substance. He was booked in the Harrison County Jail in lieu of a $100,000 surety bond set by Harrison County Justice Court Judge Brandon Ladner. He is currently not bondable due to the immigration detainer.

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