From the daily archives: Thursday, March 31, 2011

Calexico, Calif. – Yesterday, U.S. Border Patrol agents seized an estimated 132 pounds of marijuana at the Interstate 8 Checkpoint near Calexico, California.

At approximately 10:30 a.m., agents encountered a white Chevrolet Tahoe at the primary inspection area of the checkpoint. During a cursory inspection, a U.S. Border Patrol canine team alerted agents to the possible presence of narcotics within the vehicle. The driver, a 33-year-old male United States citizen, was referred to secondary inspection area where agents discovered several packages of marijuana concealed within the vehicle. The total value of the marijuana is estimated at more than $105,000.

The driver, contraband, and vehicle was turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.


When: 4-8-2011
Where: Barbara Worth Country Club
2050 Country Club Dr.
Holtville, CA

6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. – Red Carpet Entrance / Cocktail Hour / No-Host Bar
7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. – Dinner / Introduction
8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. – Opening Act / Competition
10:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. – Music / Dancing

$75 per person
$600 per table

Seven local “Celebrity Stars” from Imperial County, attempt to outshine one other at this annual event. The seven celebrity stars include:

  • Alicia Armenta, President, MANA of Imperial Valley
  • Jay Jimenez, Trustee, Central Union High School
  • Mr. & Mrs. Hargrave, Owners, Family Style Buffet
  • Ryan Kelley, Council Member, City of Brawley
  • Jean M. Oswalt, CPA

All proceeds will benefit Imperial County High School Students and attire for event is semi-formal. For more information or to purchase tickets contact Jennifer Paez at (760) 234-3028, Rosanna Lugo at (760) 427-9718 or IVRPO at (760) 482-2600.


By Luke Phillips
One of the oldest traditions in the Imperial Valley returned over the weekend for it’s 90th Anniversary celebration.
People of Swiss heritage from all over the Imperial Valley and the entire state of California gathered at the Holtville Swiss Club Saturday for the 90th Annual Swiss Schwingfest.
David Ritter hosted the event and remarked on what an accomplishment it was to reach the 90 year mark.
“I think that’s just incredible,” Ritter said. “It’s one of the longest standing traditions of the Imperial Valley. And from the look of the turnout today, I think we’re going to see 100 years too. It’s great to keep this great tradition alive.
The Imperial Valley Swiss band opened the event with a performance of both the U.S. and Swiss national anthems.
The band then dedicated their next song ‘When the Music Comes’ to band members Carl Ruben and Mark Ponton who both passed away this year. Ruben and Ponton had played with the band for most of their existence with Ruben joining in 1936 and Ponton in 1946.
The main event at the Schwingfest is the wrestling tournament where boys and men of all ages face off in a 30-foot diameter ring full of sawdust. Opponents wear small canvas shorts called schwinghosen with two straps, front and back, which they use to toss and flip one another.
Rounds last five minutes unless a fall is achieved and wrestlers are scored on aggressiveness, sportsmanship and other criteria.
The Swiss style of wrestling is a time-honored tradition that dates back at least 700 years.
In the boys wrestling tournament Bryce Buscaglia took first place in the 3-5 year old age group with Dion Johnston, Brian Strahm and Seth Iten sharing second place and Braden Botello and Colt Britschgi in third.
In the 7-9 year old age group Derek Johnston won first place, Ethan Strahm took second and Richie Garcia finished third.
In the 10-13 age group Jacob Merton and Ted Vogel shared first place, Ian Schmidig took second and Nic Arnold finished third.
Paul Leimgruber took the top spot in the 14-16 year old age group with Lucas Widmen in second and Nathen Albright and Benji Suamataia sharing third.
In the men’s tournament out-of-towners dominated with Andrew Betschart, of Modesto, coming out the big winner. Ray Widmer, of Lathrop, took second place and Mike Berchtold, of Ripon, finished third.
Winners took home a trophy, a cash prize and bragging rights.
Judges for the wrestling tournament were Mark Allegranza, Butch Vogel, Mike Johston and Tom Muller.
Winners of the traditional ‘Rock Toss’ competition were Stacy Britschgi of Holtville in the women’s division, Jude Acosta, of Lathrop, in the men’s division and Ian Schmidig of Truckee in the kid’s division.
The event also featured traditional swiss sausages for lunch and a deep pit barbeque for dinner. Schwingfest attendees also got the chance to learn about Swiss culture at the club’s Swiss Museum and shop for Swiss merchandise.
“Anybody who’s ever come to a Schwingfest or put one on or participated in one should be very proud,” Ritter said.


Imperial Valley, Calif. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Imperial Valley ports of entry over the last four days stopped almost $1.5 million worth of narcotics from entering the United States.

Marijuana Concealed in Truck

Officers at the Andrade and Calexico ports of entry made several significant seizures of marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine, weighing 589 lbs.

One of the seizures occurred at about 1:00 p.m. yesterday, March 28, at the Calexico downtown port of entry after an officer detected signs of nervousness from a 22-year-old female U.S. citizen driving a 1996 Toyota 4-Runner. As the officer detected signs of nervousness, a canine unit screening vehicles also alerted to 4-Runner. The driver and vehicle were escorted for further examination.

An intensive inspection of the 4-Runner led officers to the discovery of 20 wrapped packages of cocaine concealed inside the vehicle’s gas tank. The weight of the cocaine was 52 pounds with a street value of approximately $468,000.

The driver, a resident of Mexicali, Baja California, was arrested for the alleged narcotic smuggling attempt.

Another seizure occurred an hour and fifteen minutes later at the Andrade port of entry when a canine unit screening vehicles alerted to the auxiliary fuel tank mounted on the bed of a Ford F-350 pickup truck. The driver, a 28-year-old male Mexican citizen, and the vehicle were referred for further examination.

During the intensive examination, CBP officers utilized a fiber optic scope on the auxiliary tank which led to the discovery of 13 large wrapped packages of marijuana. The weight of the marijuana was 235 pounds with a street value of approximately $106,800.


The driver, a resident of Puerto Penasco, Sonora, was arrested for the alleged narcotic smuggling attempt.

On Friday, March 25, at the Calexico East port of entry, an officer and canine unit conducted an intensive examination on a brown 2002 Chrysler PT Cruiser and discovered 20 wrapped packages of cocaine concealed within the vehicle’s roof. The weight of the cocaine was 50 pounds with an estimated street value of $450,000.

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

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

CBP seized the vehicles and narcotics.

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