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$12 Million Cocaine Bust Surpasses Total FY 09 Seizures for El Centro Sector

Release Date: 
December 3, 2009

Indio, Calif. - El Centro Sector Border Patrol agents working the Highway 86 checkpoint seized approximately 385 pounds of cocaine with an estimated value of $12 million.

On December 2, at approximately 10 p.m., a brown colored sport utility vehicle hauling a flat bed trailer entered the Highway 86 checkpoint for inspection and was referred to secondary inspection. During the secondary inspection, a large scale imaging system was used to perform a non-intrusive inspection of the vehicle and its contents and an anomaly was discovered within the vehicle's spare tire. A Border Patrol canine team also alerted to several areas to include the vehicle and trailer.

Disassembled speaker box reveals packages of cocaine concealed within.

Disassembled speaker box reveals packages of cocaine concealed within.

During a subsequent search, Indio Station agents discovered several packages concealed within the spare tire, hidden within an audio speaker box located inside the vehicle, and hidden within a tool box mounted on the front of the trailer. In total, approximately 75 packages were removed from the vehicle and trailer. The packages contained a white powdery substance that tested positive for the characteristics of cocaine.

A spare tire conceals packages of cocaine.

A spare tire conceals packages of cocaine.

The cocaine weighed approximately 385 pounds and has an estimated value of more than $12 million.

The driver of the vehicle, a United States Citizen, the vehicle, the trailer and the cocaine were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

El Centro Sector Chief Patrol Agent Jeffrey A. Calhoon noted how the right combination of personnel and technology were instrumental in affecting a seizure of this magnitude. "The use of this technology and canine teams greatly enhances the Border Patrol's ability to detect illicit cargo, thus keeping narcotics from making their way into our communities," he said.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017