CBP Officers Foil Several Attempts to Smuggle Half-Million in Drugs into U. S.

Calexico, Calif. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers assigned to the ports of entry in Calexico had a busy day Wednesday, arresting six people and preventing more than 123 pounds of drugs with an estimated value of $541,660 from entering the country.

Officers seized 34 packages of marijuana concealed in the gas tank and side panels of a Honda Civic.

The first incident occurred at approximately 5:05 a.m. when a narcotics detection dog in the downtown Calexico port of entry primary vehicle area alerted to a 2003 black Honda Civic driven by a 32-year-old male U. S. citizen. Officers removed the driver from the vehicle and escorted him to a holding area. A secondary vehicle inspection revealed 17 plastic wrapped packages concealed in the gas tank and 17 plastic wrapped packages concealed in the side panels of the rear passenger area, all containing marijuana. The total weight of the drugs was more than 29 pounds with an estimated value of $29,670.

Packages of cocaine estimated at $435,520 were found concealed in the dash area, driver door, passenger door, and front quarter panels of a Ford Mustang.

The next incident occurred at approximately 11:15 a.m. at the Calexico East port of entry. A CBP officer referred a 2000 silver Ford Mustang for a secondary inspection after conducting an interview of the 22-year-old male Mexican citizen driver and noticing the nervous behavior of the 22-year-old female Mexican citizen passenger. During the secondary inspection, a narcotic detector dog gave a positive alert to the interior of the vehicle. Further inspection revealed packages concealed in the dash area, driver door, passenger door, and front quarter panels. Officers retrieved 20 packages of cocaine weighing more than 54 pounds with an estimated street value of $435,520.

The third incident occurred at the downtown Calexico port of entry at approximately 11:37 a.m. A CBP officer assigned to the primary vehicle inspection area noticed what appeared to be packages concealed under the rear seat of a 1991 a Honda Accord driven by a male 57-year-old Mexican citizen. Officers escorted the subject to a holding area and conducted a secondary inspection on the vehicle. Officers retrieved a total of six packages of marijuana. The drugs weighed more than 34 pounds with an estimated value of $34,390.

The following incident occurred at approximately 3:55 p.m. A CBP officer working the primary pedestrian inspection area at the downtown Calexico port of entry referred an 18-year-old female Mexican citizen applying for entry into the U.S. to the secondary inspection area. The secondary inspection yielded one package of cocaine concealed on her body weighing nearly three pounds with an estimated street value of $22,160.

The final incident occurred immediately afterwards when CBP officers also assigned to the downtown Calexico port of entry apprehended a 19-year-old male Mexican citizen and escorted him to the secondary inspection area. A search revealed one package of cocaine strapped to his body weighing nearly three pounds with an estimated value of $20,080.

“These apprehensions and narcotics seizure are testaments to the diligence of our CBP officers” said Billy Whitford, port director for both Calexico ports of entry. “Despite the varieties of ways criminals attempt to smuggle drugs through our ports, these officers remain ever alert and cognizant to stop them.”

In all incidents the drugs and vehicles were seized by CBP and the subjects were arrested and turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for prosecution.

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