Boulevard, Calif. - At about 1 a.m. this morning, U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested two 35-year old males after initiating a vehicle stop on their Mercedes-Benz on Interstate 8 and discovering more than one and a half pounds of cocaine.
Agents observed the men acting in a suspicious manner near a white 1995 Mercedes-Benz with an open trunk. The car was parked next to a callbox on the shoulder of the westbound lanes of Interstate 8. The men had walked from the rear of the car into an area of dense brush before returning to their car and continuing to drive west.
Agents later stopped the Mercedes-Benz and questioned the men whose nervous demeanor and inconsistent answers led agents to request the assistance of a Border Patrol K-9 team. The K-9 team conducted a cursory inspection of the Mercedes-Benz which yielded a positive alert to the rear of the car. Agents searched the car but were not initially able to determine what caused the positive alert.
Agents then returned to the location where the car had been parked earlier and followed the men's shoeprints into the brush. The shoeprints led to an inoperable fire extinguisher. Agents determined the extinguisher had been modified and opened it, discovering more than one and a half pounds of cocaine hidden inside with an estimated street value of $15,400.
Agents arrested the driver of the car, a U.S. citizen and resident of Chula Vista, Calif., along with the passenger, a Mexican national. They were both turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration along with the cocaine.
The U.S. Border Patrol maintains a strong defense-in-depth enforcement posture along the major routes of egress from the border to our nation's interior. San Diego Sector Border Patrol agents seized more than 1,342 pounds of cocaine in fiscal year 2010, which concluded on Sept. 30.
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.