From the daily archives: Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Close up view of area where cocaine was discovered

Calexico, Calif. – On Sunday morning, Calexico Station agents seized more than $600,000 worth of cocaine at the Interstate 8 checkpoint which is located east of Calexico, Calif.

At approximately 11:30 a.m., a white sedan approached the primary inspection area when a canine team alerted to the vehicle. Agents directed the driver to park in the secondary inspection area where the driver consented to a search of the vehicle.

During the search, agents discovered several packages concealed in an aftermarket compartment located above the rear cross axle of the vehicle. The packages contained a white powdery substance which tested positive for cocaine.

The total amount of the cocaine was valued at more than $633,000.

The driver, narcotics, and vehicle were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

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.



Test results received this afternoon show very low levels of metam-sodium.

The Imperial County Public Health Department and Agricultural Commissioner’s Office announced that some of the results from the water specimens tested in connection to water contamination in the Holtville area were received this afternoon.   Water samples were taken from unflushed cisterns fed by the South Alamo Canal.  One of the water samples tested had undetectable levels while the second sample showed that there was a very low level of metam-sodium in the water – 1.62 parts per billion.  The tests for methoxyfenozide have not yet been received.

“It is important for the public to know that the results from the water testing were received today and the results showed that the level of metam-sodium found in the water tested was 1.62 parts per billion, a very low quantity,” stated Dr. Stephen Munday, who is an expert in toxicology.  “Exposure at this level will not cause serious or long-term health effects.  Metam-sodium is known to give off a strong odor when it reacts with water, this can be expected even with very low levels.”  According to the California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) Archived Levels for Drinking Water, anything at or below 20 parts per billion (.02 milligrams per liter) of metam-sodium in drinking water is considered safe for long-term exposure.  The notification level of 20 parts per billion is twelve times higher than the amount detected in the water collected from the cisterns.

Metam-sodium degrades with time and therefore the initial levels may have been higher at the time of the incident.  However the reason that adverse health effects are not expected at potentially higher levels is because the amount of metam-sodium that was found was at extremely low levels and there was no prolonged exposure even for individuals who used the water before the problem was discovered.  According to the County Health Officer, there should not be any long-term health effects such as risk for cancer or reproductive concerns. Metam-sodium is an irritant but symptoms would have been experienced soon after exposure and there would not be a delayed reaction.

<<Imperial County News Release Holtville_Update10_05_10.pdf>> “It is important for Imperial County residents to know that the Agricultural Commissioner’s Office, in close collaboration with local and state agencies, is aggressively addressing this water contamination in the Holtville area,” stated Connie Valenzuela, Agricultural Commissioner. “We continue to work closely with state and local agencies to ensure that all appropriate measures are being taken.”  The Imperial County Public Health Department and the Agricultural Commissioner’s Office continue to work closely with the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR), to determine the cause of the water contamination.

Individuals who continue to detect a strange odor coming from their cisterns or have not had their cisterns flushed yet are advised not to bathe or use the water for themselves or their animals and contact the Imperial Irrigation District at 760-339-9389 to have their cisterns flushed and filled with clean water.  Individuals in the area that have not yet talked to someone in the Agricultural Commissioner’s Office are asked to call the County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office at 760-482-4314.  County staff will continue talking to every household in the area. Individuals that have questions on the health impact of exposure to metam-sodium can contact Jeff Lamoure, Imperial County Public Health Department Environmental Health Division at 760-336-8530.  If individuals experience unexpected symptoms and are concerned that they could have been exposed they are asked to seek the advice of their healthcare provider.

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