San Diego — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at San Diego area border crossings recently confiscated more than 8,800 pounds of marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamine valued at $8.2 million and stopped the entry of more than 116 inadmissible aliens.
“The fact that the port and field office are still maintaining an excellent enforcement posture given the challenges faced this week is a true credit to the Port of San Ysidro, the San Diego Field Office, and to Customs and Border Protection as a whole,” said Kevin McAleenan, CBP Office of Field Operations Deputy Assistant Commissioner.
The largest seizure occurred at 9 a.m. on September 15, in the Otay Mesa cargo facility after a 29-year-old male Mexican citizen, driving a 1996 Kenworth tractor pulling a trailer, entered the port with cargo manifested as plastic materials. During questioning, the CBP officer noticed inconsistencies with the driver’s answers and referred the driver and conveyance for an intensive examination.
CBP officers unloaded the merchandise, opened the boxes and discovered 404 large wrapped packages of marijuana, weighing 7,903 pounds. CBP arrested the driver and seized the marijuana and tractor-trailer.
On September 14, CBP officers screening pedestrian travelers at the San Ysidro port of entry stopped a 54-year-old male U.S. citizen for questioning at 11 p.m. CBP officers subsequently found six packages of marijuana, weighing seven pounds, taped to the man’s abdomen and thighs. CBP officers arrested the man and seized the marijuana.
Also on September 14, at the nearby Otay Mesa passenger port, a CBP officer screening vehicle and travelers targeted a 34-year-old female U.S. citizen driving a 1999 Ford Explorer. The officer noticed her nervous demeanor and escorted her and the vehicle for a more in-depth examination.
CBP officers ran the Explorer through the port’s imaging system which revealed anomalies within all four tires. Officers cut open all four tires and discovered metal canisters wrapped around the rims containing 158 pounds of marijuana. CBP officers arrested the woman and seized both the vehicle and marijuana.
On September 15 at the San Ysidro border crossing, a canine team was screening vehicles waiting to enter the United States when a detector dog alerted to a 2004 Ford Ranger driven by a 22-year-old male U.S. citizen. CBP officers escorted the man and vehicle for further inspection where they discovered 17 wrapped packages of methamphetamine weighing 39 pounds inside the gas tank of the pickup truck.
CBP officers arrested the man and seized the vehicle and methamphetamine.
CBP officers also stopped 116 illegal aliens who attempted to illegally enter the country by hiding within vehicles; presenting fraudulent documents; or presenting valid documents not legally issued to them. Some individuals had also been previously deported.
At about 10:45 a.m. on September 14, there was a collapse of scaffolding being used for construction at the San Ysidro port of entry. The collapse occurred just north of the primary inspection booths in the U.S. To safeguard the public and CBP personnel, the port was closed until the situation could be resolved.
CBP officers immediately secured the port and remained vigilant to stop any illegal activity. At 6:30 p.m., CBP began processing pedestrian traffic again at the San Ysidro port of entry and at midnight re-opened 13 vehicle lanes to begin processing travelers. CBP also re-opened the lane used to process bus traffic.
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.