Imperial County, CA. - Recently, Border Patrol agents from the El Centro Sector disrupted three separate narcotics smuggling attempts valued at more than $3 million.
The first incident occurred last Thursday, at around 7:20 p.m., when a Border Patrol canine team alerted to gold Toyota Tundra during primary inspection at Highway 86 Checkpoint near Westmorland. The driver, a 27-year-old male U.S. citizen, was referred to secondary inspection for further investigation. While in secondary, agents used a large scale imaging system and detected an anomaly in the pickup truck's tires. A thorough search of the tires resulted in the discovery of 61 pounds of cocaine. The total street value of the cocaine is estimated at more than $1,950,000.
The following day, Indio agents at the 86 Checkpoint discovered more than 1300 pounds of marijuana hidden inside an international cargo truck transporting produce. The incident occurred at around 10:30 p.m., when a Border Patrol canine team alerted to the truck during primary inspection. The driver, a 21-year-old male U.S. citizen, was placed in secondary inspection where agents located the narcotics hidden throughout several boxes of watermelon. The total street value of the marijuana is estimated at more than $1,070,000.
Today, at 1:30 a.m., agents assigned to the Calexico Border Patrol All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) Unit discovered multiple discarded bundles of marijuana hidden in the desert approximately 19 miles east of Calexico. ATV agents located the bundles north of Interstate 8 after following the foot tracks of several backpackers who had illegally crossed the border into the U.S. from Mexico. The bundles of marijuana weighed approximately 70 pounds and were given an estimated street value of more than $56,000. The backpackers were able to avoid apprehension by absconding back into Mexico.
In each incident, all suspects were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration along with the narcotics and vehicles.
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.