Pine Valley, Calif. — U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Interstate 8 checkpoint near Pine Valley, Calif., spoiled two drug smuggling attempts yesterday resulting in the seizure of nearly three quarters of a million dollars of crystal methamphetamine. Border Patrol agents also made two marijuana seizures on Tuesday valued at nearly $160,000.
At approximately 3 a.m., agents encountered the 23-year-old male United States citizen driver of a gold 1999 Chevrolet Lumina as he arrived at the checkpoint. During inspection, agents became suspicious of the man’s nervous demeanor and referred him for a secondary inspection.
During inspection, agents noticed anomalies around the engine of the vehicle. Agents searched the vehicle and discovered numerous plastic bags of crystal methamphetamine hidden inside of the engine compartment totaling 5.82 pounds with an estimated street value of $104,760.
The second seizure took place at 9 a.m., when agents assigned to the checkpoint encountered the driver of a gold Chrysler 300. Agents noticed the driver, a 22-year-old male United States citizen, appeared nervous and referred him for a secondary inspection. A Border Patrol K-9 team performed a cursory inspection of the vehicle resulting in a positive alert to the trunk and rear bumper.
Agents searched the vehicle and discovered an access door to a non-factory compartment near the spare tire containing a total of 30 cellophane-wrapped bundles of crystal methamphetamine. A total of 35.05 pounds was discovered with an estimated street value of $630,900.
The suspected smugglers and drugs in both incidents were taken into custody and subsequently turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration. The vehicles were seized by the U.S. Border Patrol.
On Tuesday afternoon at about 12:30 p.m., agents assigned to the I-8 checkpoint also seized 146.7 pounds of marijuana worth an estimated $88,000. The marijuana was discovered after a Border Patrol K-9 team alerted to an auxiliary fuel tank in the bed of a white 2003 Ford F-150. A 29-year-old male U.S. citizen and his 22-year-old Mexican female passenger were arrested as a result of the incident. The suspected smugglers and marijuana were turned over to a multi-agency drug taskforce. The Ford F-150 was seized by the U.S. Border Patrol.
One hour later, agents on patrol near San Clemente, Calif., seized 114.53 pounds of marijuana worth nearly $69,000. A Border Patrol K-9 team alerted to the rear passenger door of a gray 1998 Dodge Dakota. Agents searched the vehicle and discovered a total of 25 bundles of marijuana hidden inside the door. Two male Mexican nationals were arrested as a result of the smuggling attempt. The suspected smugglers and marijuana were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.
To prevent illicit smuggling of humans, drugs, and other contraband, the U.S. Border Patrol maintains a high level of vigilance on major corridors of egress away from our nation’s borders. Since October 1, 2010, San Diego Sector Border Patrol agents have seized more than 65,000 pounds of marijuana and 317 pounds of methamphetamine.
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.