From the daily archives: Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Calexico, Calif. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers working at the downtown Calexico port of entry seized more than 80 pounds of cocaine with an estimated value of approximately $670,770 earlier this week.

The first seizure occurred around 7:40 a.m. on Monday, March 23, after a CBP detector dog alerted to a 2005 Toyota pickup truck driven by a 59 year-old male U. S. citizen. The vehicle was referred for a secondary inspection where it was x-rayed revealing several anomalies in the front fenders.

Picture of 21 packages of cocaine placed on hood of a 2005 Toyota  pickup truck.
Twenty-one packages of cocaine weighing more than 49 pounds is stacked on the hood of a 2005 Toyota pickup truck after being intercepted during an illegal drug-smuggling attempt at the Downtown Calexico Port of Entry.

A further inspection of the vehicle fenders produced 21 concealed packages of cocaine. The total weight of the drugs was more than 49 pounds with an estimated value of $390,060.

The second seizure occurred later that morning at 11:43 p.m. A CBP officer referred a 40 year-old male Mexican citizen driving a 1999 Honda Accord to the secondary inspection lot after observing nervous behavior.

During further screening, a CBP canine alerted to the vehicle which resulted in the discovery of 12 packages of cocaine that was concealed in the gas tank. The total weight of the narcotics was more than 31 pounds with an estimated value $280,710.

Port Director Billy Whitford stressed the seizures were a result of hard work and keen observation.

“Our CBP officers, detector dogs and high-tech equipment make it extremely difficult for dangerous narcotics to pass through our ports of entry,” he said. “The effective use of this combination should serve notice to smugglers — we will remain vigilant!”

In both interceptions, the vehicles and narcotics were seized and the suspects were arrested by CBP.


Being prepared isn’t just for the Boy Scout motto, but sound advice for a healthy vacation.
Nurse practitioner and travel consultant Elaine Rosenblatt says people get caught up in plane and hotel reservations and don’t give enough thought to protecting their health during vacation.
“Many health issues that come up during vacation can actually be avoided with some planning,” says Rosenblatt, who has more than three decades of experience as a travel-health consultant and practices at a clinic affiliated with the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “Vacationers should begin preparing at least two months before the trip, especially if it’s an international trip.”
Rosenblatt says it can take a series of vaccinations over a few weeks to become immunized to various illnesses and diseases. She says seasoned travelers know they should make sure they are up to date on the three “Rs”—required, recommended and routine vaccinations. Rosenblatt also recommends vaccination against the flu, the number-one vaccine-preventable illness. But she notes there are many other potential health pitfalls that even the well-traveled don’t always consider.
“A lot of travelers don’t look over their health care insurance plans to find out what’s covered and what’s not covered,” notes Rosenblatt. “If there’s a gap in your coverage, you might want to consider travel insurance.”  She says travelers sometimes have to be air-lifted out of remote areas to get emergency treatment, which can be very costly.
“Your teeth don’t care if you’re on vacation,” says Rosenblatt about a health concern that most people don’t think about.  “You could save yourself a lot of pain and hassle by seeing your dentist before you leave on your trip.”  She recommends that people tell their dentist when they are planning a trip abroad.
While emergency medical issues are the worst-case scenario, Rosenblatt says the everyday cold, headache or flu can ruin your vacation just as easily.
“I recommend that travelers pack a medical kit with common remedies like pain relievers,” says Rosenblatt.  She suggests that people with chronic health conditions should make sure they’re prepared for any travel complications.  For example, someone with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) should pack an extra inhaler.
When in doubt about travel health issues, contact a travel consultant recommended by your primary care provider.
For more information on travel health, go to


[El Centro, CA] – This Earth Day season, shoppers across the country can drop off their old stilettos and loafers at the mall before picking up new ones. Imperial Valley Mall is excited to announce its partnership with Soles4Souls, a national shoe charity organization. Beginning March 20, shoppers at the more than 50 CBL malls nationwide will have the opportunity to celebrate Earth Day by recycling their shoes.

With an estimated 300 million pairs of shoes ending up in US landfills each year, and the more than 300 million children in the world who don’t own a single pair, the idea of recycling shoes for a cause is what motivated the partnership. Soles4Souls, the international shoe charity dedicated to giving shoes to people in need, has given away more than 7 million pairs of shoes.

A bin will be placed at the Customer Service Center near Center Court and shoppers will be able to drop off their gently worn shoes during the month long campaign, which concludes on Earth Day. With the goal of 150,000 pairs of shoes, shoes collected from all participating CBL Malls will be tallied by Soles4Souls. Soles4Souls will hold an event on Earth Day at CoolSprings Galleria in Nashville, TN to celebrate the total number of shoes collected.

“We are proud to partner with CBL Properties in this call to action to celebrate Earth Day,” said Wayne Elsey, Founder and CEO of Soles4Souls, Inc. “This initiative will not only help put shoes on the feet of the millions worldwide who need them, but it also furthers the global effort to reuse.”

“This partnership will provide many families with gently worn shoes, which otherwise may not be available to them. Soles4Souls’ charitable initiative and CBL Mall’s Celebrating the Earth campaign is a perfect opportunity to work together to support the many families in our communities. This campaign is an extension of CBL’s sustainability efforts across our portfolio,” said Veronica Baca, Group Marketing Director.

The graphic company FASTSIGNS has united with Imperial Valley Mall & Soles4Souls to produce the printed material for the shoe drive. Supporters can also sponsor pairs of shoes for children by visiting and clicking on the Soles4Souls logo.

In addition to these partnerships, Imperial Valley Mall is proud to offer a Celebrating the Earth website landing page that can be found at Visitors to this site can find helpful tips on recycling, local community initiatives and retailer recycling efforts. Imperial Valley Mall is excited to highlight the following recycling and retail efforts at mall stores: Bath & Body Works, organic product line; GAP, Sustainable store design; GAP, use of solar energy; JCPenney, recycling efforts; Payless ShoeSource, Green Footwear; Sears, Responsible Appliance Disposal Program; Subway, Reusable Lunch Bag Program; Sunglass Hut, Eco-Friendly Frames – One Frame, One Tree.

For more information about Soles4Souls and their recycling initiative nationwide, visit

About Soles4Souls®
Soles4Souls is a Nashville-based charity that collects shoes from warehouses of footwear companies and the closets of people like you.  We distribute these shoes, free of charge, to people in need around the world. Since 2005, Soles4Souls has given away over 7 million pairs of new and gently worn shoes (currently distributing one pair every 9 seconds). The shoes have been distributed in 125 countries, including Haiti, Kenya, Nepal and the United States. Soles4Souls is a 501(c)(3) recognized by the IRS and donating parties are eligible for tax advantages.

FASTSIGNS®sign and graphics centers leverage sign and marketing knowledge, state-of-the-art technology and innovative thinking to solve customers’ marketing and communications challenges—from the simple to the simply impossible™—to help companies realize their full potential through the use of effective, impactful signs and graphics. FASTSIGNS® centers provide consulting, file transfer, design, production, delivery and installation for a full range of custom sign and graphic solutions. FASTSIGNS International, Inc. is the worldwide franchisor for the more than 535 FASTSIGNS® centers located in the US, Canada, the UK, Brazil, Mexico and Australia (where centers operate under the name SIGNWAVE®). 2010 marks the fifth consecutive year that FASTSIGNS International, Inc. has been ranked #1 in the business services category, by Franchise Business Review. For more information, visit or call 800.FASTSIGNS.

About Imperial Valley Mall
Imperial Valley Mall is managed by CBL & Associates Properties, Inc. of Chattanooga, Tennessee, (NYSE:CBL). Imperial Valley Mall is a 762,637 square-foot regional mall with an outstanding anchor line-up including Dillard’s, JCPenney, Macy’s, Sears and Cinemark, plus over 100 specialty shops, one-of-a-kind food court, restaurants and entertainment. Imperial Valley Mall is conveniently located just off I-8 at Dogwood. For more information, visit online at


U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Rio Grande City Station recently found an abandoned pickup truck loaded with 1,174 pounds of marijuana.

Border Patrol agents discovered the truck on Monday near La Rosita. The truck had several bundles of marijuana piled high in the bed and cab. Agents conducted an intensive search of the area but did not locate the driver of the vehicle.

Photo of bundles stacked in rear cab of truck.
Border Patrol Agents from the Rio Grande Valley Sector recently found an abandoned pickup truck that contained 1,174 pounds of marijuana.

Agents seized a total of 54 bundles of marijuana with an estimated value of $939,200.

The Border Patrol seized the vehicle and turned the marijuana over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.


Three Holtville High School seniors were awarded scholarships at the Holtville Soroptimist luncheon on Tuesday afternoon.  The Youth Citizenship and Violet Richardson Awards were presented to three deserving members of the senior class who exemplify community service.  These young ladies were recognized for their giving hearts and involvement in worthy community causes.  Receiving a $300 scholarship was Amber Shellabarger.  Samantha Venegas was the recipient of the $400 scholarship.  Cassie Acosta was awarded the $500 scholarship.  Each girl was given an opportunity to explain a little about their community service and why they feel community is so important.

The Women’s Opportunity Award was also presented.  This $750 award is given to a woman in the Imperial Valley who is striving to better life for herself and her family.  Maria Lopez was the recipient of this year’s Women’s Opportunity Award.  Maria graciously accepted her award and gave much credit to her mother, who was also in attendance.

These awards are presented annually by the Soroptimist International of Holtville as part of their service to the community.

Amber Shellabarger recieve a $300.00 Check

Samantha Venegas was the recipient of the $400 scholarship

Cassie Acosta was awarded the $500 scholarship

Cassie Acosta was awarded the $500 scholarship

Maria Lopez was the recipient of this year's Women's Opportunity Award and recieved $750.00

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