Calexico, Calif. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Calexico West Port of Entry thwarted a smuggling attempt with an unusual concealment: narcotics hidden inside cans of hominy, jalapeños, and peach halves.
At about 10:30 a.m. on Friday, a 24-year-old male U.S. citizen and resident of Pomona, drove a red 2010 Volkswagen Jetta to the downtown border crossing.
A CBP officer inspected groceries that the man had in his car, and noticed anomalies with the weight and feel of the contents in the cans when he picked them up.
A CBP agriculture specialist screened a couple of the cans in an X-ray and detected anomalies, and a CBP officer with a narcotic detector dog screened the cans, and the canine alerted to them.
Officers then opened the cans, and discovered five packages containing a total of 20.7 pounds of methamphetamine and one package containing 5.2 pounds of marijuana, all worth an estimated $230,000.
In the largest seizure along the California/Mexico border this weekend, CBP officers at the port of entry in downtown Calexico discovered almost 100 pounds of marijuana in the gas tank of a 1990 Chevy Silverado.
On Friday, at about 6 p.m., a CBP officer was roving through the lanes of traffic waiting to enter the United States, with a narcotic detector dog. The canine alerted to the vehicle, driven by a 21-year-old male U.S. citizen and resident of Calipatria.
A CBP officer, using a fiber-optic scope, found weld marks on the inside of the gas tank.
The gas tank was removed, and officers discovered a metal box fitted inside of the tank. Inside the metal box, officers found a large package, containing 98.3 pounds of marijuana, worth an estimated $44,600.
In each instance, CBP officers seized the vehicle and narcotics and turned the suspected smuggler over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.