Calexico, Calif. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers (CBP) at the Calexico ports of entry in two days seized more than a million dollars worth of narcotics in three separate seizures.
On Monday, March 29, at about 3:30 p.m., CBP officers at the Calexico downtown port arrested a 36-year-old female U.S. citizen who attempted to smuggle 52 pounds of cocaine concealed in a grey 2006 Cadillac CTS she was driving.
During the primary inspection, an officer detected inconsistencies to the driver's story and decided to refer the vehicle to the secondary inspection area for a more intensive examination. Officers examined the vehicle and utilized a detector dog to discover 21 packages of cocaine concealed inside a non-factory compartment in the dashboard. The street value of the narcotic is estimated at approximately $416,000.
CBP officers turned over the driver, a resident of Tucson, Arizona, to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents for further investigation on the alleged narcotic smuggling attempt.
A second cocaine seizure occurred 45 minutes later at the Calexico East port of entry when a CBP officer conducting primary inspections referred a 36-year-old male Mexican citizen driving a grey 2009 Ford Focus to the secondary area after detecting a strong odor of paint emanating from the vehicle.
CBP officers conducted an intensive inspection and canine screening that led to the discovery of 20 packages concealed inside the quarter panels of the vehicle. The narcotic weighed 48 pounds with a street value of approximately $384,000.
CBP officers arrested the driver, a Mexicali resident, for the alleged narcotic smuggling attempt and turned him over to the custody of ICE agents for further disposition.
The largest seizure occurred just after mid-night on Tuesday morning, March 30, at the Calexico downtown port, when officers with the port's Anti-Terrorism Contraband Enforcement Team (A-TCET) arrested a 70-year-old male U.S. citizen who attempted to smuggle 246 pounds of marijuana concealed inside a red 1997 Chevrolet Venture van he was driving.
During the screening of vehicles, a detector dog alerted to the van and officers escorted the vehicle and driver to the secondary area for an intensive inspection.
Further inspection led officers to the discovery of 58 packages concealed throughout the entire vehicle, including the quarter panels, dashboard, tires, seats and engine. The marijuana has a street value of $246,000.
The driver, a Calexico resident, was turned over to ICE agents who transported the elderly man to the Imperial County jail to await arraignment.
In all three incidents, CBP seized the narcotics and vehicles.
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.