Pot disguised in hibiscus tea seized at border

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Customs and Border Protection officers at the Otay Mesa border crossing seized a cargo truck packed with more than 1,500 pounds of marijuana disguised in hibiscus tea.

OTAY MESA, Calif. — Customs and Border Protection officers at the Otay Mesa border crossing seized a cargo truck packed with more than 1,500 pounds of marijuana disguised in hibiscus tea, the agency announced Friday.

The U.S. bound box truck entered the busy port of entry’s cargo crossing Wednesday evening with a purported shipment of “natural hibiscus tea flowers.” But it was flagged for further inspection, CBP spokeswoman Jackie Wasiluk said.

A drug-sniffing dog alerted officers to the rear of the truck, where 1,439 packages of marijuana were stashed along with the tea leaves inside the tea flower cartons, according to the CBP.

“This was good work by the team of officers working at the port of entry,” cargo facility Director Rosa Hernandez said. “Their hard work and effective scrutiny stopped marijuana from entering the U.S. and ultimately, funds from flowing back into the pockets of transnational criminal organizations.”

Wasiluk said the 1,515 pounds of marijuana found in the truck was worth an estimated street value of $909,000. Officers seized the truck and the drugs, but there was no immediate word on arrests.