Pine Valley, Calif. - U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested a 37-year-old male Mexican national after a failed attempt to smuggle 36 pounds of cocaine through a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint yesterday near Pine Valley.
An agent encountered the man as he arrived at the checkpoint inspection driving a Saturn sedan at about noon. Upon noticing modified components on the roof of the vehicle, the agent referred the driver to secondary inspection.
During the secondary inspection, a Border Patrol K-9 team performed an exterior search of the vehicle, resulting in an alert for the presence of contraband. Through the use of non-intrusive technology, agents then searched the vehicle's interior and discovered 15 packages of cocaine concealed in a secret compartment in the roof of the vehicle.
The cocaine, which had a total weight of 36.8 pounds and an estimated street value of $368,000, was turned over to a multi-agency, anti-drug task force along with the suspected smuggler.
Checkpoint operations enable the U.S. Border Patrol to maintain a layered enforcement approach to prevent illicit cross-border smuggling along major routes of egress along our nation's border.