CALEXICO, Calif. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Calexico East port of entry on Wednesday arrested an illegal alien after discovering 119 pounds of methamphetamine concealed inside the tires of the pickup truck he was driving. The man was also a fugitive with an outstanding warrant for rape.
Shortly before midnight on June 15, a CBP officer conducting inspections of vehicles and travelers encountered the 41-year-old El Salvadorian male after he entered the port of entry driving a red 2008 Ford F-150 pickup truck. The driver presented a U.S. birth certificate and driver’s license to the officer. The officer noticed the driver was nervous and referred both driver and vehicle for a more in-depth examination.
CBP officers used the port’s imaging system, which revealed anomalies in the tires. They also used a narcotics detector dog that alerted to the vehicle. CBP officers searched the vehicle and discovered 24 packages of methamphetamine concealed inside specially built canisters that were welded to the rims of all four tires. The estimated street value of the narcotics is $892,500.
CBP officers conducted a ten-print query on the driver utilizing the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) and discovered that the man had no legal status to reside in the United States and was not the legal owner of the birth certificate he presented to the officer. The query also revealed that the man was wanted for rape out of Pasco, Washington.
The driver was turned over to the custody of Homeland Security Investigation agents for further processing of all violations. He was later booked into the Imperial County Jail where he currently awaits arraignment and extradition.
CBP placed an immigration hold on the driver to initiate removal from the United States at the conclusion of his criminal proceedings. CBP seized the vehicle and narcotics.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.