OTAY MESA, Calif. and ROMA, Texas – The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has made two recent major drug busts involving semi-trucks.
On Feb. 20, CBP officers at the Otay Mesa, California, commercial facility discovered around 1,200 small packages of meth hidden in a shipment of onions. And on Feb. 24, CBP officers at the Roma, Texas, Port of Entry seized $2.5 million in cocaine that was concealed inside a tractor-trailer.
According to a CBP news release, CBP officers assigned to the Roma International Bridge cargo facility flagged a commercial tractor-trailer inbound from Mexico for further inspection.
Agents said that after conducting a thorough search that included a canine unit, they seized packages containing 329.37 pounds of alleged cocaine concealed within the trailer.
The narcotics and truck driver, who wasn’t named, were handed over to Roma Police Department for further investigation.
Otay Mesa bust
At approximately 1 p.m. on Feb. 20, CBP officers flagged the 46-year-old driver of a tractor-trailer filled with onions for further inspection.
During the exam, a CBP canine team screened the truck and trailer, and the detector dog alerted to something suspicious within the shipment, according to the CBP news release.
CBP officers searched the shipment and discovered 1,197 packages of methamphetamine mixed with the onions in sacks. The packages of methamphetamine were shaped into small globes with a white covering, designed to blend into the onions, the news release stated.
CBP officers extracted approximately 1,336 pounds of methamphetamine worth an estimated street value of about $2.9 million.
“This was not only a clever attempt to try and smuggle in narcotics, one I haven’t seen before, but also time consuming to wrap narcotics into these small packages, designed to look like onions,” said Sidney Aki, CBP Director of Field Operations in San Diego.
“These efforts show how effective our officers are, and as a response, the lengths drug trafficking organizations are willing to go to as they try to smuggle narcotics into the U.S. While we have certainly seen narcotics in produce before, it’s unusual for us to see this level of detail in the concealment.”
The driver, who wasn’t named, was arrested for the alleged narcotic smuggling attempt.
CBP officers turned the driver, a Mexican citizen, over to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HIS) for further disposition.
CBP officers seized the tractor, trailer and narcotics.
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.