Calexico, Calif. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Calexico downtown port of entry caught a 24-year-old male enrolled in CBP's "trusted traveler" program allegedly attempting to smuggle 25 pounds of marijuana into the United States.
On Thursday, April 1, at about 2:15 p.m., a Mexican citizen attempted to enter the U.S. through the designated SENTRI lane driving a gold 2002 Ford Ranger pick-up truck. CBP officers were conducting an enforcement operation and targeted the vehicle for a secondary inspection.
During the secondary examination, a detector dog alerted to the truck. Utilization of a gamma ray inspection system led officers to the discovery of five packages hidden within the spare tire.
Officers arrested the driver, a resident of Mexicali, and turned him over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He is currently being held at the Imperial Country Jail awaiting arraignment.
CBP revoked the driver's SENTRI card and placed an immigration hold on him to initiate removal from the country at the conclusion of the criminal proceedings.
CBP seized the vehicle and narcotics. The street value of the narcotic is estimated at $25,000.
SENTRI, the Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection, is CBP's Trusted Traveler program along the southern border of the United States. The voluntary program provides dedicated vehicle lanes and expedited processing at various ports of entry for pre-approved, low risk travelers. Travelers who elect to enter the program face some additional scrutiny, including an interview with CBP officers, fingerprinting, and background check, before they are allowed to participate.
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.