CALEXICO, Calif. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Calexico ports of entry over the weekend intercepted $273,005 in unreported U.S. currency and discovered approximately $57,400 worth of methamphetamine in two separate smuggling attempts.
The first incident occurred on Apr. 7, at around 8 p.m., at the Calexico East port of entry, when CBP officers conducting southbound inspections of travelers heading to Mexico stopped a 2001 white Dodge Durango. Officers referred the driver for a more in-depth examination.
After an intensive examination that included an alert from a currency and firearms detector dog and use of the port’s imaging system, officers discovered 11 wrapped packages containing $273,005 in U.S. currency concealed inside the right rear quarter panel of the vehicle.
The driver, a 60-year-old male and lawful permanent resident of the United States, was arrested for failure to declare monetary instruments in value of more than $10,000 and was turned over to HSI agents for further investigation.
The second incident occurred on Apr. 9, at the Calexico West port of entry, at about 12:20 a.m. when a canine team screening vehicles alerted to the rear area of a 2003 black Ford Explorer as the female driver waited in line for inspection. CBP officers directed the driver to the secondary inspection area for further examination of her vehicle.
While conducting an intensive examination, that included the use of x-ray equipment, officers discovered 14 wrapped packages of crystal methamphetamine hidden inside the spare tire in the vehicle’s trunk area. The total weight of the narcotics was 41 pounds.
The driver, a 29-year-old female U.S. citizen and resident of Indio, was arrested for the alleged smuggling attempt and turned over to the custody of HSI agents for further investigation.
“Stopping the flow of narcotics from coming into our communities and intercepting the proceeds from going into Mexico is a double win in the fight to disrupt drug cartel’s operations,” said Area Port Director David Salazar.
Both drivers were later transported to the Imperial County Jail were they currently await arraignment.
CBP seized the U.S. currency, narcotics, and vehicles.