CBP Officers in Imperial Valley Seize More Than $500K Worth of Narcotics on Halloween

Imperial Valley, Calif. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at the Imperial Valley ports of entry prevented various amounts of cocaine, heroin and marijuana worth more than a half million dollars from entering the United States on Halloween, Oct. 31.

CBP officers working at the Andrade port of entry at about 6:00 p.m. encountered the driver of a gold 1999 Pontiac Bonneville when he entered the port for inspection. The officer noticed the driver exhibiting signs of nervousness and referred him for a more in-depth inspection.

An intensive examination and canine screening of the vehicle led to the discovery of eight wrapped packages of cocaine concealed in between the vehicle’s radiator and front bumper. The weight of the cocaine was 21 pounds with a street value of approximately $168,000.

Packages of heroin hidden inside the vehicle's battery.

The driver, a 20-year-old male Mexican citizen and resident of San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora, was arrested by CBP officers for the alleged narcotic smuggling attempt.

The second seizure occurred two hours later at the Calexico downtown port of entry. An officer and canine team conducting an intense examination on a 1999 Toyota Tacoma pick-up led to the discovery of two wrapped packages of heroin hidden inside the vehicle’s battery. The weight of the heroin was four pounds with an estimated street value of $68,000.

The driver, a 22- year-old male Mexican citizen and resident of Mexicali, was arrested for alleged narcotic smuggling attempt.

The third seizure occurred at about 10:30 p.m. at the Calexico East port of entry after officers with the port’s Anti-Terrorism Contraband Enforcement Team (A-TCET) conducting enforcement operations encountered a 33-year-old Brawley man in a 1996 Dodge Ram pick-up as he waited in line for inspection. A detector dog screened the vehicle and immediately alerted to the bed of the pick-up. Both the driver and vehicle were escorted for further examination.

An intensive examination revealed a non-factory compartment located in the bed of the truck that contained 40 wrapped packages of marijuana. The weight of the marijuana was 285 pounds with an estimated street value of $285,000.

The driver, a United States citizen, was arrested for the narcotic smuggling attempt.

In all three incidents, the narcotics and vehicles were seized by CBP and the drivers were turned over to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents who transported them to the Imperial County Jail where they currently await arraignment.

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.