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CBP Officers Thwart Alleged Attempt to Smuggle Opium

Release Date: 
April 3, 2014

OTAY MESA, Calif. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Otay Mesa port of entry Wednesday arrested a man after discovering 20 pounds of opium hidden in the gas tank of the SUV he was driving.

On April 2, at about 5 p.m., a CBP officer encountered the 34-year-old U.S. citizen after he entered the port of entry driving a 2001 Ford Escape.  The officer noticed the man was nervous, and referred him for further review. eight vacuum-sealed packages concealed inside a gas tank

During an intensive search of the vehicle, officers utilized the port’s imaging system and detected anomalies in the gas tank.  The officers had the gas tank opened, leading to the discovery of eight vacuum-sealed packages concealed inside, that field-tested positive for opium.

The driver, a resident of Los Angeles, was arrested and turned over to the custody of Homeland Security Investigations agents for further processing.

"This seizure is another example of dedicated CBP officers using their skills and advanced technology to stop the smuggling of dangerous contraband from entering the United States,” said Director of Field Operations in San Diego, Pete Flores. “I’m proud of their efforts in keeping this narcotic off our streets and out of our neighborhoods.”

CBP seized the vehicle and narcotics.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017