SAN DIEGO — U.S Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Otay Mesa cargo export facility on Thursday discovered 7,276 pounds of marijuana hidden inside of a metal tanker, worth almost $4 million.
“My officers remain ever vigilant as demonstrated by this significant seizure,” said Port Director Rosa Hernandez. “This was a big job and I thank our local and state partners who assisted with the processing of this seizure.”
On June 2, at about 9:30 a.m., the driver of a 1990 Kenworth tractor, pulling a metal tanker truck with a shipment manifested as lead oxide, a hazardous material, entered the commercial facility. Officers referred the driver, a 31-year-old male Mexican citizen, and the conveyance for a more intensive examination.
During the intensive examination, CBP officers used a detector dog who alerted to the tanker. Officers also ran the conveyance through the port’s imaging system that showed anomalies throughout the tanker. CBP officers, with the help of the local and state hazardous materials experts, removed the lead oxide from the tanker first in order to access the packages.
CBP officers removed 301 large packages that field-tested positive for marijuana. They also seized the marijuana, tractor and tanker truck.
Special agents with Homeland Security Investigations took custody of the driver for further processing.
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.