Nearly $2 million in drugs seized at border over Thanksgiving weekend

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SAN DIEGO — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized more than 500 pounds of illicit drugs worth nearly $2 million over the Thanksgiving weekend along the southern border of California, the federal agency reported Tuesday.

The seizures included 155 pounds of liquid methamphetamine found inside paint buckets in the bed of a truck at the San Ysidro Port of Entry and a mixed load of methamphetamine, cocaine, heroine and fentanyl found in a pickup at the Andrade Port of Entry, California’s smallest international border crossing near Arizona.

The drugs at the San Ysidro crossing were discovered by officers a little after noon Friday when officers “detected inconsistencies” with the paint buckets in the bed of a Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck, CBP spokeswoman Shalene Thomas said. A search of the truck revealed 155 pounds of liquid methamphetamine hidden inside the paint buckets worth an estimated $542,500.

Officers detained the driver of the pickup, a 23-year-old Mexican man who had a valid B-1/B-2 visa, Thomas said. That visa authorizes foreigners to enter the U.S. for both work and tourism purposes.

Just before 7 p.m. on Saturday, Customs and Border Protection officers in the far southeast corner of the state confronted a 33-year-old U.S. citizen crossing from Los Algodones, Mexico, into Andrade in Imperial County, Thomas said. Officers noticed an anomaly in the spare tire of the man’s 2016 Dodge Ram pickup truck.

Hidden in various parts of the truck, including the gas tank and spare tire, officers found 79 pounds of methamphetamine, seven pounds of cocaine, two pounds of heroin and three packages of fentanyl, Thomas said.

The driver of the Ram pickup, a resident of Lakewood in Los Angeles County, was arrested on suspicion of drug smuggling, Thomas said. Both he and the 23-year-old Mexican citizen detained in San Ysidro were turned over to the Department of Homeland Security while CBP officers seized the trucks and drugs.

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