Clay pots, jicama, and furniture all had one thing in common for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at Otay Mesa’s cargo facility; they were used to conceal more than $15 million worth of different types of nefarious narcotics.
The first seizure occurred on the afternoon of Feb. 14, when a 39-year-old male driver of a 2006 truck applied for admission into the United States at Otay Mesa’s cargo facility. The driver presented a valid entry document and declared a shipment manifested as furniture. After initial examination, CBP officers referred the driver and truck for further inspection.
During inspection, a CBP detector dog screening the truck, alerted CBP officers to the presence of narcotics in the cargo area carrying the furniture. Further inspection led to the discovery and removal of 69 packages of methamphetamine, weighing approximately 515.04 pounds, three packages of fentanyl pills, weighing approximately 23.28 pounds, and two packages of cocaine, weighing approximately 10.80 pounds.
“Phenomenal work by our CBP officers,” said Sidney Aki, CBP Director of Field Operations for the San Diego Field Office. “Smuggling trends may change, but one thing that will always remain the same is our officers’ diligence and dedication to preventing narcotics from entering the U.S.”
On Feb. 16, a second seizure occurred just after 10 a.m., when a 44-year-old male driver of a 2012 tractor trailer applied for entry into the United States by presenting a valid travel document and a manifest for a shipment of clay pots. CBP officers referred the driver and tractor trailer for further inspection. During a detailed inspection, officers discovered 132 packages of marijuana weighing approximately 1,472 pounds concealed inside the clay pots.
Also on Feb. 16, just after 6 p.m., CBP officers encountered a seizure when a 24-year-old male driver of a red 2013 tractor-trailer applied for admission into the United States. The driver presented officers a valid entry document and a manifest for 880 boxes of fresh jicamas. CBP officers referred the driver and his tractor/trailer for further inspection after noticing several packages commingled within the shipment of jicamas.
During inspection, a CBP detector dog screened the boxes of jicamas and alerted officers to the presence of narcotics. After a detailed inspection, CBP officers discovered 1,219 packages of methamphetamine from the boxes of jicamas that weighed approximately 2,180 pounds.
A total of 1,425 packages containing narcotics were seized with estimated street value of $15.4 million.
CBP officers turned the drivers over to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Homeland Security Investigations for final disposition.
The vehicles and narcotics were seized by CBP officers.