OTAY MESA, CALIF.—U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Otay Mesa cargo port of entry Thursday stopped a tractor-trailer with 756 pounds of marijuana hidden in the frame.
At about 7:30 p.m. January 19, the tractor-trailer, a flatbed without cargo, arrived at the cargo border crossing. The driver was a 39-year-old male Mexican citizen with a B1/B2 visa, also known as a border crossing card. The CBP officer referred the driver and tractor-trailer for a more intensive inspection.
CBP officers ran the tractor-trailer through an imaging device, similar to an x-ray, and discovered anomalies with the rails. A CBP officer with a human/narcotic detector canine screened the tractor-trailer, and the dog alerted.
CBP officers found packages of marijuana hidden inside the rails of the tractor-trailer, and received assistance in removing the packages from U.S. Border Patrol agents working joint operations at the port of entry as well as from personnel from the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department and the Chula Vista Fire Department. Fire Department personnel were asked for assistance due to the sophisticated nature of the compartment and potential safety issues with removal, which required specialty equipment.
In all, CBP officers seized 326 packages containing 756 pounds of marijuana, worth an estimated $454,000. CBP officers seized the tractor-trailer, and turned the driver over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. The driver will face criminal charges.
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.