Otay Mesa, Calif. - Over the weekend U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Otay Mesa port of entry seized 112 pounds of marijuana hidden in the vehicle of a SENTRI member.
On Sunday, Oct. 24, at 3:50 p.m., a CBP officer working the SENTRI lane encountered a 31-year-old male Mexican citizen and resident of Tijuana, driving a 2001 Nissan Pathfinder. The officer noticed anomalies in the vehicle and referred them for further inspection.
During an in-depth inspection, a narcotic detector dog alerted to the vehicle. Officers then had the gas tank removed where they discovered packages hidden within. In addition, officers discovered packages in both front quarter panels of the vehicle.
Officers extracted a total of 36 packages of marijuana with an aggregate weight of 112 pounds and an estimated street value of $56,000.
CBP officers arrested and placed an immigration hold on the driver to initiate removal from the country upon completion of the criminal proceedings;
he was turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents for processing; CBP officers revoked his SENTRI privileges.
On Oct. 23, at approximately 8 p.m., another SENTRI member arrived at the Otay Mesa border station and was referred to CBP agriculture specialists for inspection of the groceries. CBP agriculture specialists inspected the man's groceries and discovered pork chorizo.
The man, a 49-year-old U.S. citizen and resident of Poway, Calif., was fined $500 and his SENTRI privileges were revoked for failure to declare and for introducing pork products into the U.S.
CBP agriculture specialists seized and destroyed the pork. Meat and meat products present a risk for introduction of animal diseases. Pork meat specifically is prohibited from Mexico due to the risk of introduction of classical swine fever.
Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection (SENTRI) program members are informed upon enrollment that any violation of U.S. law or violation of the SENTRI program rules is grounds for termination from the program.
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.