Man caught smuggling cocaine worth $500K while driving wife, infant

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Border Patrol agents arrested a man caught smuggling more than $500,000 worth of cocaine while driving his wife and infant in San Clemente. Photo by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. — A man in possession of cocaine worth an estimated $512,500 was arrested Thursday in San Clemente, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said.

The 34-year-old U.S. citizen was seen cutting off other drivers and speeding a 2012 Nissan Altima along Interstate 5 at about 85 miles per hour around 4:45 p.m. Thursday. Border Patrol agents began following the car, which exited the freeway and parked in a nearby shopping center.

Accompanied by his wife and their infant, the driver got out of the car and was walking away when agents intercepted the family and asked for permission to search the car.

Inside the vehicle’s trunk, agents said they found a duffel bag filled with 20 packages of cocaine. Another cocaine-filled package was found in a shopping bag near a car seat inside the vehicle. The packages weighted 51.25 pounds and were worth about $512,500, the Border Patrol said.

Once authorities located the cocaine, the woman tried to escape after telling agents she needed to use the bathroom. Authorities said they later found her with her baby about a quarter-mile away.

All three individuals were taken to a Border Patrol station nearby. The man was arrested, and the woman and her baby were later released, agents said.

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