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CBP Officers Seize Various Narcotics at Southern California Ports

Release Date: 
September 9, 2013

SAN DIEGO—U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at Southern California ports of entry Thursday arrested a man traveling with his wife and infant child after discovering more than 24 pounds of methamphetamine hidden inside the gas tank of his vehicle. In addition, officers seized more than 173 pounds of marijuana and 20 pounds of methamphetamine during separate smuggling attempts.

The first incident occurred at about 3:30 a.m., when a CBP canine team was screening vehicles as they waited in line for inspection at the San Ysidro port of entry. The team's detector dog alerted to a 2011 Dodge Durango. The vehicle driven by a 38-year-old female U.S. citizen was escorted for a more in-depth inspection.

During an intensive examination that included the usage of the port's imaging system, officers discovered 101 vacuum-sealed packages of marijuana concealed inside the gas tank, spare tire and quarter-panels of the vehicle. The narcotics weighed more than 173 pounds with a street value of approximately $77,850.

The woman, a resident of Kennewick, Washington, was turned over to the custody of Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) agents.

Later in the day, at about 8:00 p.m., CBP officers working at the Calexico downtown port of entry referred two female U.S. citizens, a 38-year-old driver and her 33-year-old passenger, for additional inspection after they arrived at the port in a 2002 Nissan Sentra.

During the inspection, a CBP canine team received an alert from their detector dog, leading officers to the discovery of 22 wrapped packages of methamphetamine hidden inside the gas tank of the vehicle. The narcotics weighed 20 pounds, with an estimated street value of $300,000.

The driver and passenger, both residents of San Bernardino, California, were turned over to the custody of Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) agents.

The third incident occurred at about 11:30 p.m., when officers working at the Otay Mesa port of entry encountered a 36-year-old male U.S. citizen, his 35-year-old wife, and their 10-month-old child, in a 2002 Jeep Liberty SUV that had been referred to secondary for a more in-depth inspection.

CBP officers received an alert from a canine team's detector dog, subsequently leading officers to the discovery of 15 vacuum-sealed packages of methamphetamine concealed inside the vehicle's gas tank. The narcotics weighed more than 24 pounds, with an estimated street value of $480,000.

The driver, a resident of Moreno Valley, California, was turned over to the custody of Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) agents. The wife and child were released.

All subjects were transported for incarceration and to await arraignment in federal court.

CBP seized the vehicles and narcotics.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017