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CBP in California Intercepts Narcotics, Currency, including $3 Million Worth in Shipment of Seashells

Release Date: 
June 7, 2010

San Diego - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Otay Mesa passenger and cargo ports of entry over the weekend seized more than 3,000 pounds of narcotics valued at $3.3 million and confiscated $22,235 hidden in a speaker box.

Opened bags of sea shells where 203 packages of marijuana and 50 packages of methamphetamine were concealed.

Opened bags of sea shells where 203 packages of marijuana and 50 packages of methamphetamine were concealed.

Friday afternoon at about 12:10 p.m., a 42-year-old male Mexican citizen entered the Otay Mesa cargo facility driving a 2000 Freightliner tractor pulling a 1989 Wabash trailer with cargo manifested as dry sea shells. A CBP officer referred the conveyance to the secondary area for further investigation.

Officers ran the tractor trailer through the port's gamma ray imaging system that showed anomalies with the cargo. When officers unloaded the shipment they found packages hidden within the bags of sea shells. They probed two of the packages, revealing a green leafy substance from one package and a crystal like substance from another.

Officers subsequently discovered 203 wrapped packages of marijuana weighing 2,435 pounds and 50 packages of methamphetamine weighing 150 pounds with a total street value of more than $3 million.

The driver was arrested by agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement who transported him to the Metropolitan Correctional Center. CBP seized the narcotics and conveyance.

The next morning at the Otay Mesa passenger port at about 10:10 a.m., a 48-year-old Tijuana man entered the border station driving a 1994 Toyota pickup truck with wood furniture in the bed of the truck. The processing CBP officer referred the vehicle and driver for a more intensive examination.

A total of 151 marijuana packages found within wood furniture.

A total of 151 marijuana packages found within wood furniture.

During the secondary examination, the vehicle was run through the port's X-ray imaging system which revealed anomalies in the wood furniture. Officers used a narcotic detector dog to screen the vehicle which led them to the discovery of 151 wrapped packages of marijuana weighing 467 pounds and valued at $233,500 hidden in the furniture.

The driver was arrested and transported to the Metropolitan Correctional Center. CBP seized the vehicle and marijuana.

On Sunday morning at 11:30 a.m. officers from the San Ysidro port of entry conducting southbound inspections on the I-5 freeway pulled aside a 2005 Dodge Stratus, the 20-year-old driver and his two passengers for further inspection.

During the course of the inspection, officers found a speaker box in the trunk of the Stratus where they discovered $20,300 inside the speaker and found an additional $1,935 on the three occupants. CBP seized the $22,235 of undeclared currency and the vehicle.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017