Calexico, Calif. - Customs and Border Protection officers at the Calexico East port of entry seized 39 pounds of cocaine yesterday that involved three young males from the Coachella Valley, California.
The seizure occurred at about 7:30 a.m. when officers with the port's Anti-Terrorism Contraband Enforcement Team were conducting inspections of vehicles and travelers and targeted a blue 1999 Chevy Astro van pulling a tow dolly for inspection. A detector dog alerted to the dolly and both vehicle and occupants were all referred to the secondary area for further examination.
An intensive inspection that included the use of a density meter device led officers to the discovery of 16 wrapped packages of the narcotic concealed inside a non-factory compartment in the center frame of the dolly. The estimated street value of the narcotic is approximately $351,000.
CBP officers arrested the driver, a 25-year-old male Mexican citizen, and passengers, 23-year-old male Mexican citizen and 26-year-old male U.S. citizen, for the alleged narcotic smuggling attempt. All violators were turned over to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and transported to the Imperial County Jail were they currently await arraignment.
CBP placed an immigration hold on the Mexican citizens to initiate removal from the United States at the conclusion of their criminal proceedings.
CBP seized the narcotic, vehicle and dolly.
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.