CBP in San Diego Seizes $2.2 Million in Narcotics, Catches 13 Fugitives, Undeclared Money

(Tuesday, January 19, 2010)

contacts for this news release

San Diego — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at ports of entry along the California/ Mexico border seized almost 2,900 pounds of narcotics valued at $2.2 million, captured 13 fugitives, and stopped the illegal entry of 417 persons over the busy holiday weekend.

From 6 a.m. on Friday through 6 a.m. on Tuesday, CBP officers at the six land ports of entry intercepted 16 smuggling attempts involving marijuana and methamphetamine. The drugs were hidden in various areas of the vehicles such as in the gas tank, in the bumpers and the spare tire.

click for hi-res
Bundles of marijuana are discovered in the back of a motor home.
Bundles of marijuana are discovered in the back of a motor home.

The largest seizure occurred at the San Ysidro border station on Sunday at about 1:30 p.m. after a detector dog alerted to a the back wall of a motor-home pulled by a Ford F-350 pickup as it and the two female occupants waited in line to be inspected. The women and conveyance were escorted into the secondary area for a more intensive examination.

Officers subsequently discovered 78 wrapped packages of marijuana in the rear wall of the motor home weighing 1,764 pounds, valued at more than $1 million.

Both the driver, a 34-year-old U.S. citizen from Big Bear, Calif., and her passenger, a 46-year-old U.S. citizen from West Covina, Calif., were turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and transported to the Metropolitan Correctional Center. CBP seized the narcotics and conveyance.

Also on Sunday, at approximately 8:40 a.m. while conducting a primary vehicle inspection at the Calexico downtown port, a detector dog alert to a 1998 Ford Windstar driven by a 44-year-old male who was accompanied by his 36-ear-old spouse and 10-ear-old son, all of whom are Mexican citizens.

Further inspection on the vehicle resulted in the discovery of 118 “brick-like” packages concealed in the dashboard, seats, quarter-panels, spare tire and roof. The packages tested positive for marijuana weighing just over 234 pounds with an estimated value of more than $140,000. The driver was arrested and turned over to ICE agents.

On Monday morning, at about 7:40 a.m. while conducting southbound inspections at the Calexico downtown port of entry, an officer received a negative declaration for weapons and money in excess of $10,000 from a male 34-year-old Mexican citizen driving a 1999 Ford F-150. At the same time a canine unit alerted to a black jacket inside the vehicle.

Further vehicle inspection and a routine pat-down revealed $31,477 in undeclared cash that was concealed in the suspect’s jacket, jean pockets, socks and gym bag in the vehicle. The suspect was arrested and turned over to ICE agents.

CBP officers captured 13 individuals wanted on outstanding felony warrants for such crimes as larceny, fraud, and parole violations during the four days.

Officers also stopped 417 illegal aliens from who attempted to illegally enter the country hidden within vehicles or by presenting fraudulent documents or valid documents not legally issued to them.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation’s borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

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