San Diego - Yesterday during two incidents, U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested three men, including a previously deported criminal alien, for suspected drug smuggling. Agents seized over 83 pounds of marijuana that had an estimated street value of over $41,800; some drugs were hidden inside a vehicle's gas tank and spare tire.
One incident occurred at about 12 p.m., in Fallbrook, Calif., when agents observed a male driver and two male passengers park a Ford Expedition at a gas station convenience store on Highway 76. The driver and the rear passenger exited the vehicle and entered the store. Agents knocked on the window to speak to the man in the front seat. When he opened the door agents detected the odor of marijuana emanating from the vehicle and questioned the 26-year-old, Mexican national, who was later determined to be a previously deported criminal alien. Agents waited outside to confront the individuals still in the store, but only one came out; the other absconded. Agents summoned a Border Patrol K-9 team to the scene which discovered over 23 pounds of marijuana in the back seat.
Earlier that day at around 6 a.m., in Pine Valley, Calif, an agent stopped a Dodge Darango on Interstate 8 near the Buckman Springs Road exit. The driver, a 25-year-old man, U.S. citizen, consented to a K-9 search on the vehicle. A Border Patrol K-9 team arrived on the scene and performed the search which produced an alert on the vehicle. The vehicle was then transported to a Border Patrol Station to allow agents to investigate further.
Agents, focusing on the gas tank, used a scope and observed several plastic wrapped bundles inside. The tank was removed and agents extracted several bundles of marijuana. Agents also notice irregularities with the vehicle's spare tire and revealed bundles of marijuana hidden inside. A total of 40 bundles were recovered from the seizure. The marijuana has a total weight of 60.6 pounds and an estimated street value of $30,300.
The three suspected smugglers were arrested and later turned over to a multi-agency, anti-drug task force, along with the marijuana.
The U.S. Border Patrol utilizes strategic defense-in-depth enforcement posture designed to disrupt, dismantle and ultimately defeat criminal smuggling organizations, thereby making our communities safer.