U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Calexico ports of entry on Saturday seized more than 370 pounds of hard narcotics valued at almost $2.9 million.
At about 1 p.m. on March 30, CBP officers at the Calexico commercial inspection facility encountered a 44-year-old Mexican citizen hauling a manifested shipment of steel cable. The officer referred the both the driver and commodity for an intensive examination.
While scanning the truck and trailer through the port’s X-ray imaging system, CBP officers identified an anomaly within the shipment, and sent the conveyance to unload the shipment onto the dock for inspection. Officers continued their search, and ultimately had to use an electric tool to cut open the metal spools holding the rolls of cable. Inside one of the five spools, officers discovered 122 wrapped-packages of cocaine.
The driver, a resident of Mexicali, Baja Mexico, was arrested for the alleged narcotic smuggling attempt.
The second incident occurred at the Calexico West port of entry later the same day, when a CBP officer encountered a 28-year-old male Mexican citizen and lawful permanent resident of the U.S. driving a Dodge Journey SUV. The officer referred both the vehicle and driver for further inspection.
Officers scanned the vehicle using the port’s imaging system and detected anomalies within the vehicle’s firewall. After inspecting the area, officers discovered 68 wrapped-packages of methamphetamine loaded inside a hidden compartment. A total of 50 pounds of narcotics was extracted from the firewall, with an approximate street value of $80,000.
The driver, a resident of Brawley, was arrested for the alleged narcotics smuggling attempt.
In both incidents, the drivers were turned over to Homeland Security Investigation agents for further processing, and were later transported to the Imperial County Jail to await arraignment.
CBP officers at the border crossings in Southern California routinely stop illegal activity, while processing millions of legitimate travelers into the United States.
If you have any information related to this seizure or any other suspected smuggling activity at the Calexico East Cargo facility, DHS encourages you to report it by calling its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing the online tip form.