U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Otay Mesa cargo crossing in San Diego found more than 550 pounds of methamphetamine and almost three pounds of cocaine hidden in a shipment of squash.
“Our officers are keen at detecting unusual behavior and utilizing our advanced technology to find narcotics,” said Anne Maricich, CBP Deputy Director of Field Operations in San Diego. “Smugglers will always try new, creative methods to smuggle narcotics, but our officers are always prepared for the unexpected.”
The incident occurred at about 7:45 p.m. on April 28, when a 25-year-old Mexican driver applied for entry into the United States from Mexico at the Otay Mesa Cargo facility.
The driver presented a valid border crossing card, and the CBP officer referred the driver, bobtail truck, and shipment of squash aside for further inspection.
CBP officers screened the truck using the port’s imaging system that works as an x-ray machine to detect anomalies. Officers then sent the truck to the dock, where an officer with a human/narcotic detector dog screened the shipment, and the canine alerted to the pallets of squash.
CBP officers began inspecting within the boxes of squash and discovered 259 packages of methamphetamine and one package of cocaine comingled within the produce. The total amount of narcotics that was extracted from the boxes of squash was 552.65 pounds of methamphetamine, with an estimated street value of about $1.2 million and 2.78 pounds of cocaine, worth approximately an additional $39,000.
CBP officers turned the driver over to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for further processing.
CBP officers seized the bobtail truck and narcotics.