$3.2M worth of drugs seized at California border this weekend

SAN DIEGO – Over 1,800 pounds of drugs worth $3.2 million were seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in Southern California this weekend.

Inside a tractor trailer at the Calexico East Port of Entry in Friday, October 20, 2017. (CBP)

From Friday through Monday, CBP officers found 383 pounds of methamphetamine, 51 pounds of cocaine, 54 pounds of heroin and 1,340 pounds of marijuana.

CBP officers discovered the narcotics in various locations throughout the vehicles, including the floor, spare tire well, bumpers, tractor-trailer, seats and quarter panels.

“CBP officers face many challenges on a daily basis,” said Pete Flores, Director of Field Operations for CBP in San Diego.  “The interceptions this weekend showcase CBP’s adaptability to an ever-changing smuggling trade.”

The first incident occurred at about 11:05 a.m. Friday at the Calexico East Port of Entry when a tractor with an empty trailer entered the cargo facility.

Officers used the port’s imaging system and observed anomalies within the front wall of the empty trailer.  A canine team was dispatched to search the trailer and the detector dog alerted to the wall.

CBP officers continue to search the conveyance and discovered 54 large wrapped packages of marijuana stacked inside a non-factory compartment in the front wall of the empty trailer.

Officers probed a package; the substance inside field-tested positive for marijuana. The total weight of the narcotics was 1,116 pounds with a street value of approximately $446,400.

The driver, a 37-year-old resident of Mexicali, Baja California, was arrested and turned over to the custody of Homeland Security Investigation agents for further investigation.

The second incident occurred nine hours later on the same day at the Andrade port of entry when CBP officers encountered two people – an 18-year-old man and woman who are U.S. citizens in a silver Nissan Armada. During the inspection at the booth, the officer detected anomalies to the gas tank and referred the occupants and vehicle for a more in-depth examination.

CBP officers conducted an intensive inspection on the vehicle and discovered 21 wrapped packages of methamphetamine, three packages of cocaine, and two packages of heroin hidden inside the gas tank.

The weight of the narcotics was 46 pounds of methamphetamine, eight pounds of cocaine, and four pounds of heroin with a combined estimated street value of $223,960.

The driver and passenger, residents of Phoenix, Arizona, were arrested for the alleged narcotic smuggling attempt.

Both occupants were turned over to the custody of Homeland Security Investigation agents for further processing.

CBP officers seized all of the vehicles.