From the daily archives: Tuesday, March 23, 2010

San Diego — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa border crossings stopped twelve narcotic smuggling attempts in a 24-hour period Thursday, including three incidents involving persons attempting to walk across the border with narcotics strapped to their bodies.

The twelve attempts took place between 6 a.m. Thursday and 6 a.m. today. CBP officers seized a total of 763 pounds of narcotics, including marijuana, methamphetamines and cocaine. The drugs had an estimated street value of $1.16 million.

Photo of packages taped to man's torso.
Within a 24-hour period, CBP officers at the San Ysidro port stopped three separate attempts to smuggle marijuana by people with packages of drugs taped to their bodies.

At about 7 a.m. Thursday, a narcotic detector dog alerted to a 19-year-old male U.S. citizen, and resident of Tijuana, walking through the San Ysidro port of entry. Officers discovered three packages of marijuana weighing almost four pounds taped to his sides and back.

Less than 15 minutes later, a canine officer sweeping the pedestrian area of the busy port stopped after his narcotic detector dog alerted to a 30-year-old female U.S. citizen and resident of Tijuana. Officers found two packages of marijuana weighing about four and a half pounds strapped to her body.

Later, shortly after midnight, officers at San Ysidro stopped a 16-year-old female U.S. citizen, and resident of Chula Vista, Calif., when she entered the U.S. through the pedestrian area of the port. Officers found two packages of marijuana in her shoes, two packages in her bra, and a fifth package strapped around her stomach. In total, the marijuana weighed almost two and a half pounds.

In each case, the alleged smuggler was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and booked into a local jail or Juvenile Hall.


San Diego – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at ports of entry along the California border with Mexico seized $115,142 during outbound inspections last week.

From March 15 through today, CBP officers seized currency en route to Mexico that was either undeclared or in the possession of an individual attempting to evade reporting requirements. The money was seized from U.S. and Mexican travelers who were entering Mexico on foot, by bus or in a private vehicle.

The largest seizure occurred on Tuesday, March 16, when officers encountered a 40-year-old female U.S. citizen from Tijuana, who was en route to Mexico as a pedestrian.

Officers stopped the woman and upon further investigation discovered bundles of money in her purse totaling $33,900. CBP seized the currency.

Also on Tuesday, at the Calexico downtown port of entry, officers encountered a 28-year-old male U.S. citizen driving a 2001 Ford Explorer and pulled him and the vehicle aside for inspection before he drove into Mexico.

Officers utilized a dual use currency/firearms detector dog that alerted to the Explorer. When officers searched the vehicle they discovered a total of $13,905 in a plastic bag concealed in the passenger side rear quarter panel. CBP seized the vehicle and currency.

It is legal to transport currency or monetary instruments totaling more than $10,000 upon entry or exit from the U.S. However, it is illegal to fail to declare it to CBP or to conceal it with intent to evade reporting requirements. Failure to declare may result in seizure of the currency and/or arrest.


By Mario Conde

The Calexico Planning Commission voted Monday to request more information and continue the hearing for further study on a proposed apartment complex next to William Moreno Jr. High.

In 1998 and 2006, Sam Jack submitted an application to the city for consideration to construct multi-family apartments on land located within the Las Haciendas subdivision in Calexico. The project did not come to fruition and was never developed. The De Las Flores 80 unit apartment complex constitutes the third development proposed in the area. The proposed development include 18 separate two story buildings consisting of sixteen, two bedroom units, fifty three bedroom units, fourteen four bedroom units, a recreation building, separate laundry facilities, an office, a tot lot and a large open centralized green area.

The property is currently owned by the Calexico Unified School District and in a letter by former superintendent David Groesbeck dated February 13, 2009 said that CUSD gave authorization to Sam Jack to file and process an application to the Calexico Housing Development, a California Limited Partnership, for the development of District-owned property on Highway 98 and Kloke Road. In the letter Groesbeck said that “Mr. Jack understands that here is no specific or implied contractual agreement with the Calexico Unified School District.”

However, CUSD Superintendent Dr. Cristina Luna said in a letter sent to the City of Calexico that the 80 unit apartment complex will yield approximately 37 students at grades K-6, 16 students at grades 7-9 and 13 students at grades 10-12. Luna said that these additional students to the Districts will generate an additional 2.4 classrooms including the necessary support staff. Luna added that the District hired WLC Architects to prepare a school facility master plan for CUSD and will include recommendations in future utilization or disposal of the 10 acre school property next to William Moreno Junior High School. “The master plan process may take up to 18 months to complete.” Luna said.

The meeting was attended by several residents living near the area most of them opposing the project like Joe Alvarez who said that the development will increase traffic in the area and will affect the school, devalue their homes, there will be a lack of police and fire presence, and increase crime were children go to school. Alvarez requested to give the property to the School and have more baseball and football fields.

Planning Chairman Carlton Hargrave closed the public hearing portion of the meeting and said to be concern of having people live in a compacted area next to school even if the project follows the City’s guidelines. Vice-Chairman Edward Higuera also asked about the situation with the Calexico Unified School District saying that the City should know first what the District will do with its property and said this could take 18 months according the letter sent by Superintendent.

Higuera also asked when the widening of Highway 98 was going to take place since it would key for traffic impacts because of other Housing development proposal near the area such as the Remington Condominiums south of Willie Moreno that was approved in 2006 and Los Lagos Subdivisions on Dogwood Road.

After some discussion and deliberation of the board, Commissionaire Eduardo Lopez made the motion to approve the De Las Flores 80-unit apartment and was seconded by Commissionaire Cesar Rodriguez. The vote ended 2-2 since commissionaire Ulises Cardenas was absent at the meeting. The board decided that more information should be available for this project and made a new vote to continue this item at a future time.


Kalli Ries rounding second heading for third

The Holtville Vikings Girls Softball has their league opener today against Central High School. The Vikings look to be a strong contender this year as they come into this game with a undefeated preseason of 8-0-0. They have 8 player hitting over 300 and one that is ranked 4th in the state. According to Mapreps CBS, Bethhany Lehman is on fire hitting .750 with 15 hits at 20 at bats, she has 2 doubles, 1 triple, 1 Home run and 13 runs batted in. Game time is 3:15 pm.

Holtville 8-0-0 vs. Central 3-1-0 in preseason

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