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White powdery substance, possibly fentanyl, mailed to Chula Vista mom and business owner

CHULA VISTA, Calif. — A woman in the South Bay received an envelope that contained a mysterious powder this week. She reached out to local police who confirmed that the substance found was an illegal drug.

According to the Chula Vista Police Department, it’s not a trend yet but it’s a known drug dealing tactic: using someone else’s name and address to send illicit drugs. In this case, it impacted a small business owner, wife, and mom of four.

Ring camera video in one family-friendly Chula Vista neighborhood captured the moments one USPS employee dropped off what appeared to be an ordinary envelope at first glance for resident Graciela Arangure.

Upon opening it, she said, “I kind of felt it and I was like okay, it could be three or four random latex balloons in here.”

That would be common, given she runs a home-based party decoration business called Creations by Chelyz. However, what was inside was anything but.

“I saw this black Ziploc bag that was thinly bubble wrapped and I’m like okay, that’s weird,” Arangure explained.

It wasn’t balloons inside, but rather three small packets of a suspicious white powdery substance believed to be a drug.

Arangure later realized the envelope carrying the substance stated “return to sender” with her business name stamped as the sender, as if she had shipped it out.

“If somebody is sending something out and they don’t have to put their own name on it, it now creates some distance from the actual person involved in the crime,” explained Sgt. Anthony Molina with CVPD.

After seeing the suspicious substance, Arangure quickly contacted police who arrived that night to investigate the package.

“They were going back and forth, asking themselves, ‘is it cocaine?’ Then the other cop said ‘no, this is fentanyl,’” she said.

Police have yet to confirm that officially.

As for Arangure, a business owner and a mother of four, she’s just happy she and her family are safe.

“This substance could have just been loose. I could’ve opened it and my kids could have opened it, and it could have been a lot worse.” 

CVPD says they are working together with the United States Postal Service to conduct the investigation.

FOX 5 reached out to them on the matter. Their public affairs teams says they’re still reviewing the case, but want to encourage residents to report any suspicious packages to the US Postal Inspection Service.

“The public should not try to open or handle any suspicious packages. They can refuse the packages and report it immediately by calling us at 877-876-2455,” shared Patricia Mendoza, the PIO with the department.


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