US CBP seizes $395k worth of cocaine at checkpoint

El Centro Sector Border Patrol agents arrested a 20-year-old woman for the suspected smuggling of 34 pounds of cocaine on Tuesday evening.

On March 19, at approximately 5:00 p.m., a black sedan approached the primary inspection area of the U.S. Border Patrol’s immigration checkpoint on Highway 86. The agent in primary referred the driver to a secondary inspection. In secondary, a U.S. Border Patrol K-9 unit trained to detect concealed persons and narcotics conducted an open-air sniff of the vehicle, which prompted agents to search the trunk. The search of the trunk resulted in the discovery of a black bag containing several packages wrapped in brown paper consistent with narcotics smuggling.

A total of 15 packages were removed from the vehicle. Agents tested the contents of the packages with positive results for the presence of cocaine. The total weight of the cocaine was 34 pounds with an estimated street value of $395,000.00.

The woman, a U.S. citizen, was arrested for the transportation of a controlled substance. She, the narcotics, and vehicle were turned over to Drug Enforcement Administration for further investigation and prosecution.

This seizure is part of Operation Apollo. Operation Apollo is a joint regional operation comprised of federal, state, and local agencies working to combat the threat from fentanyl, and other illicit synthetic narcotics. More information about Operation Apollo can be found here.

“This suspected drug smuggler probably wasn’t planning on building a snowman with these 34 pounds of cocaine,” said El Centro Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gregory K. Bovino. “Instead, her plans were melted down when vigilant Indio Station Border Patrol agents thwarted her attempt. As usual, I am proud of our agents.”