San Diego - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers nabbed five teenagers this weekend attempting to smuggle narcotics worth an estimated $210,411 into the U.S.
On Sunday at 2:45 p.m., a CBP officer at the Otay Mesa port of entry referred a Nissan Quest van for further inspection. While inspecting the vehicle, officers opened the hood and found packages of marijuana hidden on top of the engine. Packages were hidden throughout the vehicle including in the spare tire area, and the storage compartments under the passenger seats. The officers found a total of 288 pounds of marijuana hidden throughout the vehicle, worth an estimated $144,000.
The driver, an 18-year-old female Mexican citizen, was arrested and turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.
On Saturday at 10:15 a.m., CBP officers at the Calexico West port of entry stopped three separate teens attempting to smuggle methamphetamine into the U.S. The teens, 16, 17, and 18 years of age, all had packages of methamphetamine taped to their legs. All three teens were intercepted in the pedestrian processing area by a team of roving officers with a narcotic detector dog.
The teens had in total 3.65 pounds of methamphetamine with a street value of $65,736. All three male teens are Mexican citizens and were turned over to ICE agents.
On Friday morning at 11:42 a.m., another teen was caught attempting to smuggle marijuana taped to his body. This time, a CBP officer with a narcotic detector dog stopped the 15-year-old male U.S. citizen with 1.35 pounds of marijuana as he was entering the U.S. through the San Ysidro pedestrian entrance. The teen was turned over to ICE agents.
Drug cartels are targeting teenagers to support their unceasing drug smuggling operations across the U.S. border. Pete Flores, acting director of field operations, said, "Teens are prone to impulsive behavior and the cartels know how to take advantage of this; the teens are lured into smuggling drugs through appealing promises of large sums of cash and exuberant lifestyles. The reality is that they are only risking their lives for the cartels' profits."
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.