OTAY MESA, Calif. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at the Otay Mesa commercial facility discovered nearly 6,000 pounds of methamphetamine hidden in commercial trucks in the space of one week.
The first incident happened Saturday, May 15, when CBP officers discovered approximately 2,425 pounds of methamphetamine concealed in a shipment of medical supplies. At about 9:45 a.m., a driver entered the Otay Mesa Commercial Facility with a tractor-trailer shipment hauling a shipment manifested as various medical supplies.
The truck, driver and shipment were targeted for an intensive inspection. CBP officers screened the truck using the port’s imaging system and found anomalies within the cargo shipment. The truck was moved to an inspection dock, where a CBP officer with a K-9 screened the boxes of cargo, The dog alerted to one of the pallets of medical products. Officers offloaded the shipment and discovered 120 packages of methamphetamine, worth an estimated $5.5 million, mixed in with various medical supplies.
The driver, a 29-year-old Mexican male, was arrested and turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations. The driver is facing federal charges and has been transported to the Metropolitan Correctional Center.
“Most of what CBP officers see every day is legitimate travelers and legitimate cargo that needs to speed its way into the U.S. as a critical part of our economy,” said Anne Maricich, acting CBP director of field operations in San Diego, California. “But CBP officers know that we must remain vigilant; transnational criminal organizations will attempt any avenue they can think of to try and smuggle their illicit drugs into the U.S.”
The second incident occurred on Tuesday, May 18, when more than 1,100 pounds of methamphetamine were found hidden within a shipment of watermelons. At about 6:45 p.m., CBP officers encountered a driver, truck and trailer with a shipment manifested as watermelons. During the inspection, a CBP officer referred the driver, along with the shipment, for an intensive examination.
During the exam, a CBP K-9 team screened the tractor trailer and alerted to the shipment of watermelons. CBP officers searched the cargo and discovered a combination of 193 wrapped plastic containers and packages of methamphetamine concealed within the watermelon crates. The estimated street value of the methamphetamine is $2.5 million.
The 47-year-old Mexican male driver was arrested for the alleged narcotic smuggling attempt. CBP officers turned the driver over to ICE-HSI. The driver is facing federal charges and has been transported to the Metropolitan Correctional Center in San Diego.
The final seizure of the week involving a commercial truck was Friday, May 21. At about 4:45 p.m., CBP officers referred a truck driver for an intensive examination as he entered the U.S.
CBP officers utilized the port’s imaging system to inspect of the shipment, which was manifested as plastic parts, and anomalies were observed. While the truck was parked at the dock, a K-9 team screened the shipment, and a detector dog alerted to one of the boxes in the truck. CBP officers searched the shipment and discovered 120 packages of methamphetamine, weighing a total of 2,421 pounds, concealed within the shipment of plastic parts. The narcotics have an estimated street value of $5.5 million.
The 25-year-old Mexican citizen was arrested for the alleged narcotic smuggling attempt. CBP turned the driver over to the custody of agents with ICE-HSI. CBP officers seized the narcotics and conveyance.
“These record-setting seizures at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry has dealt a significant blow to drug trafficking organizations operation in the region,” Maricich said. “These criminals should take notice that our CBP officers will work diligently to disrupt all types of drug smuggling attempts at our ports of entry.”
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.