Pine Valley, Calif. — Early this morning, U.S. Border Patrol agents discovered 10 cellophane-wrapped bricks of heroin concealed inside the transmission of a Ford F-150 pickup truck during a checkpoint inspection near Pine Valley.

At about 6 a.m., an agent encountered the suspected smuggler, a 45-year-old male Mexican national, as he drove the pickup truck to the primary inspection point. After the suspect failed to provide documentation to legally travel within the country, the agent referred him to secondary inspection.

During the secondary inspection, a Border Patrol K-9 team conducted a non-intrusive search of the exterior of the pickup truck, resulting in an alert to the vehicle’s undercarriage. Agents then conducted a physical search of the vehicle and noticed the transfer case showed signs of tampering. Upon disassembling the transfer case, the agents discovered the hidden narcotics and arrested the suspected smuggler.

The stash of heroin, which had a total weight of 12.3 pounds and an estimated street value of $172,200, was turned over to a multi-agency, anti-drug task force along with the suspect.

This latest incident follows another significant drug seizure that took place last weekend involving a cocaine stash valued at $236,500. On Saturday at about 5:45 p.m., agents stopped a 36-year-old female Mexican national driving a Chevrolet Trailblazer on northbound Interstate 15 near Rainbow, Calif. After a positive K-9 alert, the agents discovered eight packages containing 23.65 pounds of the drug hidden inside the front seats of the SUV. The Drug Enforcement Administration assumed custody of the suspect and narcotics.

A defense-in-depth enforcement posture is a proven means to prevent the illicit smuggling of humans, drugs and other contraband on major routes of egress from the border. From October 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010, U.S. Border Patrol agents have seized more than 300 ounces of heroin and 720 pounds of cocaine in San Diego Sector.

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 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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