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Border patrol makes historic seizure of drugs hidden in tractor-trailer

Border patrol makes historic seizure of drugs hidden in tractor-trailer
On Aug. 5, 2021, officers with U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized nearly 3 tons of suspected amphetamine and fentanyl powder that was hidden in a commercial tractor-trailer. (Courtesy: CBP)

OTAY MESA, Calif. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Otay Mesa Commercial Facility recently discovered nearly 3 tons of methamphetamine and fentanyl powder, valued at nearly $13 million, hidden in a commercial tractor-trailer. According to the CBP, this is the largest methamphetamine drug smuggling seizure along the southwest border to date.

At 5:24 p.m. on Aug. 5, CBP officers stopped the driver of a tractor-trailer hauling a shipment of “plastic household articles.” During the initial inspection, the driver and shipment were referred for an intensive examination.

When CBP officers screened the tractor-trailer using the port’s imaging system, they found anomalies in the trailer. Further examination, which included screening by a CBP K-9 team, revealed the presence of suspected narcotics. CBP officers searched the cargo and discovered a combination of 414 packages consisting of 5,528 pounds of suspected methamphetamine and 127 pounds of suspected fentanyl concealed within boxes.

The total seizure weighed in at 2.8 tons and had an estimated value of $12,990,749.

The 53-year-old Mexican male driver was arrested for the alleged narcotic smuggling attempt. CBP officers turned the driver over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations. The driver was transported to the Metropolitan Correctional Center in San Diego and is facing federal charges.

CBP officers seized the tractor, trailer and suspected narcotics.

“This amount of fentanyl and methamphetamine is enough to ruin countless lives and fund transnational criminal organizations,” said Pete Flores, CBP director of field operations in San Diego. “I’m proud of our officers’ efforts at all Ports of Entry within the San Diego Field Office to intercept this and all smuggling attempts.”

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