NILAND, Calif. – El Centro Sector Border Patrol agents from the Indio Station assigned to the Highway 86 checkpoint arrested three women suspected of drug smuggling on two separate events over the Memorial Day Weekend.
The first incident occurred on May 27, 2017 at approximately 9:20 a.m., when a light blue 2008 Mazda Tribute approached the checkpoint on Highway 86 driven by a 45-year-old woman. The driver was accompanied by her 23-year-old daughter and by her two-year-old granddaughter. Agents referred the vehicle to secondary for further examination.
At secondary inspection, a Border Patrol detection canine team alerted to the vehicle. After an intensive search, agents discovered 18 packages of narcotics hidden in the roof of the Mazda.
The content of the 12 packages tested positive for cocaine for a combined weight of 30.6 pounds. Four packages tested positive for methamphetamine and weighed 6.9 pounds, while the last two packages tested positive for heroin and weighed 2.6 pounds. The combined estimated street value of the seizure is $518,860.
The woman, a Mexican citizen, her daughter and granddaughter, the vehicle and the narcotics were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration for further investigation.
The second incident occurred on May 29, at approximately 4:40 a.m., when a 22-year-old woman approached the checkpoint at Highway 86 driving a silver 2010 Chrysler 300.
Agents referred the woman to secondary inspection for a closer examination. After an intensive search, agents discovered 67 packages inside the gas tank of the vehicle. The packages tested positive for the characteristics of methamphetamine.
The methamphetamine had a total weight of 51.73 pounds with an estimated street value of $165,536.
The woman, a United States citizen, the vehicle, and the narcotics were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration for further investigation.
“Drug smuggling organizations are determined, resourceful, and will stop at nothing to affirm their goals. Our agents and K-9 units are steadfast in protecting our community from these dangerous drugs,” said Assistant Chief Patrol Agent David S. Kim.
In fiscal year 2017, El Centro Sector has seized more than 741.98 pounds of methamphetamine, 134.87 pounds of heroin, and 421.31 pounds of cocaine.