OTAY MESA, Calif. — On Dec. 13, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Otay Mesa Cargo Facility in California discovered more than $10 million worth of hard narcotics hidden in an 18-wheeler’s shipment of jalapeno paste.
According to a CBP news release, at approximately 10:36 a.m., CBP officers encountered a 28-year-old male driving a commercial tractor-trailer with a shipment manifested as jalapeno paste. The driver, a valid border crossing card holder, and his truck were referred for further examination by CBP officers.
In the secondary inspection area, the news release stated that a CBP K-9 unit screened the shipment and alerted officers to examine the trailer more closely. Upon further examination, CBP officers discovered and extracted 349 suspicious packages of jalapeno paste from vats.
The contents of the packages were tested and identified as methamphetamine and cocaine. In total, the shipment concealed 3,161.43 pounds of methamphetamine and 522.5 pounds of cocaine.
“Our K-9 teams are an invaluable component of our counter-narcotics operations, providing a reliable and unequaled mobile detection capability,” said Rosa Hernandez, Otay Mesa Port director. “By implementing local operations under Operation Apollo and CBP’s Strategy to Combat Fentanyl and other Synthetic Drugs, we will continue to secure communities and stifle the growth of transnational criminal organizations, one seizure after another.”
CBP officers seized the narcotics and tractor-trailer while the driver was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations for further processing. The estimated street value of the narcotics is $10,430,000.
Born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and raised in East Texas, John Worthen returned to his home state to attend college in 1998 and decided to make his life in The Natural State. Worthen is a 20-year veteran of the journalism industry and has covered just about every topic there is. He has a passion for writing and telling stories. He has worked as a beat reporter and bureau chief for a statewide newspaper and as managing editor of a regional newspaper in Arkansas. Additionally, Worthen has been a prolific freelance journalist for two decades, and has been published in several travel magazines and on travel websites.