Pine Valley, Calif. — Two Mexican nationals are being held in federal custody on drug smuggling charges after their failed attempt to smuggle more than 125 pounds of cocaine through a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint Wednesday morning near Pine Valley.
Prior to the seizure, U.S. Border Patrol agents came across the suspected smugglers as they arrived to the checkpoint in a Nissan Quest minivan at about 9:45 a.m. As the agents interviewed the male driver and female passenger, both 30 years of age, they became suspicious of their nervous behavior.
The minivan was referred to a secondary inspection, where an exterior search of the vehicle was conducted by a Border Patrol K-9 team. The search yielded a positive alert, prompting agents to conduct a physical search of the vehicle.
During the search, agents discovered 49 packages of cocaine concealed inside the door panels of the minivan. The cocaine had a total weight of 125.68 pounds and an estimated street value of $1,256,800.
The suspected smuggler was arrested and later turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration, along with the narcotics.
The U.S. Border Patrol makes use of enforcement assets such as canines to enhance detection capabilities in an effort to prevent illicit smuggling of humans, drugs and other contraband. During the past week, enforcement efforts involving Border Patrol canines have resulted in narcotics seizures of more than 260 pounds of cocaine throughout San Diego County.
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.