Border Patrol finds 3 hidden drug stashes within an hour


A fire extinguisher used to smuggle drugs on San Diego freeways (left) and substances on a scale after one of three different busts made within an hour on June 30, 2021. (Photo: USBP)

SAN DIEGO — Border Patrol agents seized cocaine, fentanyl and methamphetamine in three separate busts that happened within an hour of each other on San Diego freeways Wednesday.

Agents stopped the first vehicle, an SUV, on northbound Interstate 15 around 2:15 p.m. Authorities said the vehicle was flagged as “suspicious” but did not elaborate. According to USBP, the male driver, a U.S. citizen, gave them permission to search the vehicle using a drug-sniffing dog. The K-9 took interest in two fire extinguishers in a rear storage compartment.

Agents say they opened the extinguishers and pulled small bundles of “suspected fentanyl pills” from each one. The haul came in at just over 19 pounds with an estimated street value of more than $280,000, authorities said.

The 54-year-old driver and his 53-year-old passenger, also a U.S. citizen, were arrested and the drugs turned over to the DEA.

Around the same time, agents patrolling I-5 stopped another SUV. Again getting the driver’s permission to search, according to USBP, a service dog found a bag inside the vehicle with four bundles. Those bundles were ultimately found to contain more than 9 pounds of meth — an estimated street value of around $16,700.

The driver and his passenger — both U.S. citizens in their 20s — were arrested and the drugs sent to the DEA, Border Patrol said.

About a half-hour after the first two busts, agents on Interstate 15 stopped another car, this time a blue pickup truck. With the driver’s permission, according to USBP, a dog searched the vehicle and took interest in a rear storage area.

Agents found two bundles of cocaine and one bundle of meth, with a combined value of roughly $43,000, according to USBP. The driver, another U.S. citizen in his 20s, was arrested and the drugs turned over to DEA.

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