IMPERIAL, Calif. – El Centro Sector Border Patrol agents arrested a United States citizen and three Mexican nationals accused of smuggling narcotics, in three separate events, over the weekend. The combined value of narcotics seized was over $2.05 million.
The first incident occurred Friday afternoon, at approximately 2:50 p.m., when agents encountered two undocumented individuals in the Jacumba Wilderness region, the mountainous area of El Centro Sector’s area of responsibility. Agents verified that the individuals did not possess the required documents to be legally present in the United States. They also discovered a cylindrical-shaped package tightly sealed with saran wrap and tape, in their immediate area. Both Mexican nationals and the sealed package were taken into custody and transported to the El Centro Sector Processing Center for further investigation. The half-pound package tested positive for fentanyl with an estimated street value of $6,048.
The second incident occurred Saturday at approximately 3:40 p.m., when agents conducting traffic check operations performed a vehicle stop on a 2022 red Honda Civic, just east of Golf Center Parkway exit and Interstate 10. A Border Patrol K-9 detection team called to assist in the search alerted to the vehicle. Agents inspected the interior of the vehicle and discovered 10 bundles of a white crystal-like substance inside of a cooler, located in the trunk.
The driver was taken into custody and transported to the Indio Border Patrol Station. The 4.9 kilograms of white crystal-like substance tested positive for methamphetamine, with an estimated street value of $23,925.
The driver, a 27-year-old United States citizen, vehicle, and narcotics were turned over to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office.
The third incident occurred Sunday night at approximately 10:50 p.m., when a 1997 blue Freightliner tractor-trailer approached the Highway 111 immigration checkpoint. The agent inspecting vehicles in the primary lanes referred the vehicle to secondary inspection.
Agents inspected the interior of the tractor trailer and discovered a black trash bag with several brown cellophane bundles inside of it. Further inspection of the “sleep area” revealed three more bags filled with the same content. The driver was immediately placed under arrest and escorted inside of the checkpoint for further investigation. In total there were 38 bundles that tested positive for cocaine with an estimated street value of $1,355,340 and 20 bundles that tested positive for fentanyl with an estimated street value of $674,400.
The driver, a 33-year-old Mexican national, vehicle, and narcotics were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.
“This is yet another poignant reason why it’s vitally important to staff the border area and traffic checkpoints with highly trained agents and support staff” said El Centro Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gregory Bovino. “This is in line with both enforcing federal law and upholding taxpayer expectations - the Green Team is always ready!”
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