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CBP Officers Discover Cocaine in Hidden Compartment, Meth in Sealed Cans of Hominy

Release Date: 
February 24, 2014

San Diego — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Otay Mesa and San Ysidro ports of entry over the weekend seized 56 pounds of cocaine stashed in a hidden compartment and discovered 14 pounds of methamphetamine concealed inside of sealed cans of hominy in two separate incidents.

On Friday, February 21, at about 4:40 p.m., a CBP officer at the Otay Mesa port of entry referred the 31-year-old female driver of a 2005 Mitsubishi Endeavor, and her 33-year-old female passenger for an in-depth inspection.

During an intensive inspection, a CBP canine team screened the vehicle and the detector dog alerted to the undercarriage. Further search of the area led officers to the discovery of 20 packages of cocaine concealed in two non-factory compartments built into the rear floor.

The narcotics have an estimated street value of $728,000.

The driver, U. S. citizen and resident of Tijuana, Baja California, was arrested and turned over to the custody of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents for further processing. She was later transported to the Metropolitan Correctional Center to await arraignment. The passenger was released.

The second incident occurred on Sunday, Feb. 23, shortly after 3:00 a.m., when a CBP officer at the San Ysidro port of entry encountered a 2003 Toyota Corolla driven by a 58-year-old female and her 45-year-old male passenger, after they arrived from Mexico.

The officer performed a cursory inspection of the vehicle and noticed two large sealed cans of hominy on the floor behind the back seat. The officer noticed discrepancies with the cans and referred the vehicle occupants and for further examination.

During an in-depth inspection, officers opened both cans of hominy and discovered one vacuum-sealed package of methamphetamine concealed within each can.

A total of two packages of methamphetamine were removed from the cans, weighing 14 pounds with an estimated street value of approximately $140,000.

The driver, a resident of Santa Barbara, California, and passenger, a Lawful Permanent Resident, were arrested and turned over to the custody of HSI agents for further processing.

Both subjects were later transported to the Metropolitan Correctional Center to await arraignment.

In both cases CBP seized the vehicles and narcotics.

Last modified: 
February 3, 2021