San Diego - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the San Ysidro port of entry Friday stopped a SENTRI member with 577 pounds of marijuana hidden in the trunk.
At about 3:15 p.m. on October 21, 2011, a 24-year-old male U.S. citizen, a resident of Tijuana and a member of the SENTRI program, went to cross into the United States driving a silver 2012 Nissan Maxima, using the dedicated SENTRI lanes.
The CBP officer performing his inspection asked the driver to open the trunk of the vehicle; the CBP officer found multiple packages in the trunk of the car. A CBP officer with a narcotic detector dog then screened the vehicle, and the canine alerted.
CBP officers found a total of 101 packages in the vehicle's trunk, containing about 577 pounds of marijuana, with an estimated street value of $346,000.
CBP officers seized the vehicle and narcotics, and turned the driver over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. The driver was booked into the Metropolitan Correctional Center.
SENTRI, the Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection, is the CBP trusted traveler program along the southwest border. People who enroll in SENTRI provide additional information, fingerprints, and a photo, and pass a background vetting classifying them as a low-risk traveler. In exchange, SENTRI members use dedicated lanes when crossing the border, and can usually expect a wait time of 15 minutes or less. Enrolling in the program costs $122.25, and memberships last for five years.
CBP officers continue to perform an inspection of every person and conveyance that crosses into the United States, including inspections for all SENTRI members each time they cross the border.
"It is extremely disappointing to see someone attempt to take advantage of the Trusted Traveler program in such a way," said San Ysidro Port Director Frank Jaramillo. "However, this just demonstrates why we need to continue to trust, but verify. I am proud of the continued vigilance of our officers, and believe this seizure demonstrates the success or our layered enforcement strategy."
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.