US CBP officers discover more than $10 million worth of narcotics in jalapeno paste shipment

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Otay Mesa Cargo Facility discovered over $10 million worth of hard narcotics hidden in a shipment of jalapeno paste yesterday.

On December 13, at approximately 10:36 a.m., CBP officers encountered a 28-year-old male driving a commercial tractor-trailer with a shipment manifested as jalapeno paste. The driver, a valid border crossing card holder, was referred for further examination by CBP officers along with the tractor-trailer and shipment.

In the secondary inspection area, a CBP K-9 unit screened the shipment and alerted officers to examine the trailer more closely.

Upon further examination, CBP officers discovered and extracted a total of 349 suspicious packages from vats of jalapeno paste. The contents of the packages were tested and identified as methamphetamine with a weight of 3,161.43 pounds and cocaine with a weight of 522.50 pounds.

Event photo; description located in caption.
A CBP K-9 team alerted officers to inspect a shipment of jalapeno paste more closely.

“Our K-9 teams are an invaluable component of our counter-narcotics operations, providing a reliable and unequalled mobile detection capability,” said Rosa Hernandez, Otay Mesa Port Director. “By implementing local operations under Operation Apollo and CBP’s Strategy to Combat Fentanyl and other Synthetic Drugs, we will continue to secure communities and stifle the growth of transnational criminal organizations, one seizure after another.”

Event photo; description located in caption.
CBP officers carefully extracted hundreds of packages from the containers of jalapeno paste.

CBP officers seized the narcotics and commercial tractor-trailer while the driver was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations for further processing. The estimated street value of the narcotics is $10,430,000.

Event photo; description located in caption.
In total, 332 packages of methamphetamine and cocaine weighing 3,684 pounds were seized from the shipment.