U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in the San Diego Field Office thwarted three major narcotics smuggling attempts over the weekend worth more than $5.7 million.
These recent interceptions come on the heels of a significant narcotic seizures that occurred at the Calexico Port of Entry on March 15.
“These impressive drug seizures demonstrate that drug traffickers will continue to find ways to attempt to smuggle these dangerous narcotics into our communities,” said Sidney Aki, CBP Director of Field Operations in San Diego. “Our frontline officers continue to maintain a robust enforcement posture and are successfully disrupting the flow of dangerous narcotics from entering our country.”
The first seizure occurred on Friday at about 10:20 a.m. On this occasion the driver, identified as a 25-year-old female in possession of a valid entry document, was removed from the vehicle and escorted to the security office after officers observed several packages concealed in the vehicle after a K-9 alerted to the trunk area.
CBP officers scanned the vehicle utilizing the port’s imaging system, similar to an X-ray, where they noticed anomalies in the seats and floor. Further inspection of the vehicle revealed 33 packages of methamphetamine hidden in the seats, floor, and firewall. The total weight was slightly more than 201 pounds.
The second seizure happened at the Tecate port of entry at 6:11 a.m. on Saturday. CBP officers encountered three male occupants, a 66-year-old, a 57-year-old, and a 56-year-old, applying for entry via the Tecate port of entry primary vehicle lanes. All travelers presented their valid legal permanent resident cards when they applied for admission into the United States. The vehicle and its three occupants were referred for further investigation.
During the inspection, a CBP officer screened the vehicle with his assigned human/narcotics detector dog and notified officers of an alert to the center console. CBP officers conducted a hands-on inspection and discovered 80 packages containing fentanyl pills concealed in various areas of the vehicle with a total weight of nearly 175 pounds.
The last seizure was on Sunday at approximately 6:50 a.m., when a vehicle and its two occupants, a 54-year-old female, and an 18-year-old male, applied for entry into the U.S. by presenting their valid SENTRI cards to CBP officers at the San Ysidro Port of Entry dedicated commuter lane. The officer referred the vehicle and the two occupants for further inspection.
During the inspection, a canine enforcement officer utilized his assigned human/narcotic detector dog to screen the vehicle who alerted to the presence of narcotics. Further examination of the vehicle revealed four packages of fentanyl pills, weighing nearly 11 pounds, and three packages of fentanyl powder, weighing slightly more than 7 pounds.
The fentanyl and methamphetamine have a combined estimated street value of over $5.7 million. All occupants were turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for further processing. CBP officers seized the narcotics and vehicles.