Couple traveling with 5-year-old son arrested for smuggling drugs

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Drugs found hidden in the driver’s seat of a Jeep

SALTON CITY, Calif. – A couple driving near the Salton Sea with their 5-year-old son was arrested over the weekend after border agents discovered cocaine hidden in their car, authorities said Tuesday.

The family was driving north on Highway 86  in a 2007 Jeep Commander Saturday at about 9 a.m. when they were stopped at a Border Patrol checkpoint south of Salton City. While an agent was questioning the 37-year-old driver, a drug-sniffing dog detected something on the undercarriage of the Jeep, the Border Patrol said in a news release.

Agents searched the vehicle and discovered six plastic-wrapped bundles of drugs hidden inside the driver’s seat. In all, about 14.5 pounds of cocaine was found in the car with an estimated street value of $218,250, according to the agency.

The man, his wife and son are all Mexican citizens. They, the Jeep and the drugs were all turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

In a separate incident on Saturday night, Border Patrol agents arrested three men who allegedly crossed the border illegally near Ocotillo. A record check showed that one of the suspects had been convicted of sexual assault in Colorado and had served 18 months in prison for the crime. The man, a 53-year-old Mexican citizen, was referred for criminal prosecution for allegedly re-entering the U.S. after being deported as a convicted sex offender.