Calexico, Calif. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Calexico downtown port of entry discovered 517 pounds of marijuana hidden inside a brown 1995 Dodge van over the weekend.
The incident occurred on Saturday, August 21, at about 2:45 p.m. when a CBP officer conducting vehicle primary inspections referred the driver, a 69-year-old male Mexican citizen, to the secondary examination area after the driver displayed signs of nervousness during the vehicle primary interview.
A secondary inspection that included a canine screening led officers to the discovery of 94 wrapped packages of marijuana concealed underneath stuffed animals and electronic equipment in the cargo area of the van. The marijuana has a street value of over a half million dollars.
The driver, a resident of Mexicali, Baja California, was arrested for the alleged narcotic smuggling attempt and turned over to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents for further processing.
CBP placed an immigration hold on the driver to initiate removal from the United States at the conclusion of his criminal proceedings.
CBP seized both vehicle and narcotic.
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.