CBP Officers Seize 556 Pounds of Narcotics at Southern California Ports of Entry
SAN DIEGO—U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at ports of entry along the California/Mexico border over the weekend seized approximately 556 pounds of narcotics valued at more than $4 million.
The first incident occurred on Friday, Sept.13, at the Calexico downtown port of entry at about 7:30 a.m., when a CBP officer conducting inspections of vehicles and travelers detected anomalies to the gas tank of a 1980 beige Chevy Silverado and referred both driver and vehicle for further examination.
During the intensive examination, a canine team screened the vehicle and the canine alerted to the undercarriage. Officers found 25 wrapped packages of cocaine and one black garbage bag containing methamphetamine concealed inside a metal box within the gas tank. The combined weight of the narcotics was 77 pounds with a street value of approximately $924,000.
The driver, a 69-year-old male Mexican citizen and resident of Mexicali, Baja California, was arrested and turned over to the custody of Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) agents for further processing.
Later in the day, at about 6:47 p.m. at the Calexico East port cargo facility, a CBP officer encountered a 35-year-old male Mexican citizen driving a 1991 Freightliner tractor pulling a trailer with a shipment manifested as decorative stone. The officer referred the conveyance to the dock area for a more in-depth examination.
While conducting an intensive inspection of the conveyance, CBP officers utilized the port's imaging system and detected anomalies within the boxes of stone. A canine team screened the trailer and the detector dog alerted to the boxes. Officers found 40 wrapped packages of marijuana concealed within the boxes of decorative stone.
Officers offloaded a total of 299 pounds of marijuana, valued at an estimated $179,400.
The driver, a resident of Mexicali, was arrested and turned over to the custody of HSI agents for further processing.
The third incident occurred on Sunday, Sept. 15, at about 4:15 p.m. at the Otay Mesa port of entry, when an officer conducting inspections of vehicles and travelers referred a black 2008 Chevy Malibu for further examination after detecting anomalies with the vehicle's trunk.
Officers examined the vehicle, including a canine screening, and found 22 pounds of liquid methamphetamine concealed within nine juice cans that were located in the trunk area. Further examination also revealed 34 wrapped packages of methamphetamine hidden within a non-factory compartment behind the rear passenger backrest of the vehicle. The methamphetamine weighed 51 pounds with a street value of 586,500. The street value for the liquid methamphetamine was approximately $440,000.
The driver, a 32-year-old female U.S. citizen and resident of El Monte, Calif., was arrested and turned over to the custody of Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) agents for further processing.
The fourth incident occurred an hour and thirty minutes later at the San Ysidro port of entry when officers conducting inspections of vehicles and travelers targeted a white 1995 Ford F-150 for inspection.
During the inspection, officers detected signs of nervousness being displayed by the driver and referred the driver, passenger and vehicle for further examination.
Officers conducted an intensive examination that included the use of a canine team. The canine alerted to the vehicle's gas tank leading officers to discover 107 pounds of liquid methamphetamine concealed within the tank. The narcotic has a street value of approximately $2.14 million.
The driver, a 32-year-old female U.S. citizen, and passenger, a 36-year-old female U.S. citizen, were arrested for the alleged smuggling attempt and turned over to the custody of HSI agents.
The driver and passenger are residents of Fontana and San Bernardino, Calif.
All subjects were transported to the local jail where they currently await arraignment.
CBP seized the vehicles and 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.