San Diego - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers over the weekend at crossings along the California/Mexico border seized more than 1,500 pounds of narcotics valued at more than $3.6 million, apprehended 18 fugitives, and stopped the illegal entry of more than 200 inadmissible aliens.
From Friday morning at 6 a.m. through 6 p.m. this morning, officers intercepted the 1,500 pounds of cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, and marijuana hidden in various places in vehicles such as in the rocker panels, tires, and bumpers as well as strapped to their bodies.
A significant seizure occurred on Friday, at about 7 p.m., at the Calexico downtown port of entry after an officer and his canine were screening vehicles as they waited for inspection. The dog alerted to a 2003 Kia Sorento driven by a 31-year-old female Mexican citizen.
Officers inspected the vehicle and determined there were anomalies with the gas tank so they inserted a fiber-optic scope and saw several packages within.
Officers subsequently extracted 35 packages of cocaine, weighing 96 pounds. The woman was arrested. CBP officers seized the vehicle and cocaine.
The largest seizure occurred at the Otay Mesa border station on Saturday morning at 9 a.m. after officers encountered a 40-year-old male Mexican citizen driving a 1988 Ford pickup truck. During the inspection, a CBP officer noticed inconsistencies with the pickup which prompted a more in-depth examination. Officers later discovered 71 packages of marijuana, weighing 183 pounds, in a floor compartment in the bed of the truck.
The man was arrested. CBP seized the vehicle and marijuana.
Officers also apprehended 18 fugitives trying to enter the United States with active felony warrants for crimes such as burglary, robbery, conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, and for a sex offense.
One of the fugitives, 34-year-old Noel Gutierrez, a citizen of Mexico, attempted to elude capture by using someone else's legitimate border crossing card as his own. Gutierrez entered the San Ysidro port of entry on Friday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. as a pedestrian and was referred for further inspection.
Through fingerprint identification, officers discovered his real identity and that he was wanted by the Navajo County Sheriff's Office in Holbrook, Arizona, for possession of a weapon. Gutierrez was booked into the San Diego Central Jail to await extradition.
In addition, officers working the six ports of entry along the California/Mexico border caught more than 200 other persons trying to illegally enter the United States, either by using counterfeit documents, legitimate documents that did not belong to them, or by trying to evade inspection altogether, such as by hiding in the trunk of a car or in a hidden compartment.
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.