Calexico, Calif. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Calexico West Port of Entry thwarted a smuggling attempt with an unusual concealment: narcotics hidden inside cans of hominy, jalapeños, and peach halves.
At about 10:30 a.m. on Friday, a 24-year-old male U.S. citizen and resident of Pomona, drove a red 2010 Volkswagen Jetta to the downtown border crossing.
A CBP officer inspected groceries that the man had in his car, and noticed anomalies with the weight and feel of the contents in the cans when he picked them up.
A CBP agriculture specialist screened a couple of the cans in an X-ray and detected anomalies, and a CBP officer with a narcotic detector dog screened the cans, and the canine alerted to them.
Officers then opened the cans, and discovered five packages containing a total of 20.7 pounds of methamphetamine and one package containing 5.2 pounds of marijuana, all worth an estimated $230,000.
In the largest seizure along the California/Mexico border this weekend, CBP officers at the port of entry in downtown Calexico discovered almost 100 pounds of marijuana in the gas tank of a 1990 Chevy Silverado.
On Friday, at about 6 p.m., a CBP officer was roving through the lanes of traffic waiting to enter the United States, with a narcotic detector dog. The canine alerted to the vehicle, driven by a 21-year-old male U.S. citizen and resident of Calipatria.
A CBP officer, using a fiber-optic scope, found weld marks on the inside of the gas tank.
The gas tank was removed, and officers discovered a metal box fitted inside of the tank. Inside the metal box, officers found a large package, containing 98.3 pounds of marijuana, worth an estimated $44,600.
In each instance, CBP officers seized the vehicle and narcotics and turned the suspected smuggler over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.
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.