TECATE, Calif. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Tecate port of entry Friday arrested a man after discovering almost 84 pounds of methamphetamine stashed inside a lawn mower and garden trash can that were being transported in the bed of the pickup he was driving.
The incident occurred shortly before 6 a.m. on February 20, when CBP officers encountered a 23-year-old U.S. citizen after he arrived at the port driving a 1994 Toyota T100 pickup. A CBP narcotics detector dog alerted to the bed of the pickup, which was loaded with landscaping equipment, and officers referred the driver and vehicle for further review.
During an intensive inspection, officers offloaded the landscaping equipment from the bed of the pickup and discovered a lawn mower that had been modified to conceal a specially-built compartment and a garden trash can that contained a false bottom. Officers continued searching the equipment and ultimately removed a total of 46 wrapped packages that were hidden in the lawn mover’s underside as well as underneath the false bottom of the trash can.
The packages field-tested positive as methamphetamine and have a street value of approximately $835,000.
The driver, a resident of Chula Vista, was arrested and turned over to the custody of Homeland Security Investigations agents for further processing. He was later transported to the San Diego County Jail to await arraignment.
CBP seized the vehicle and the narcotics.
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.