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Published On: Tue, Feb 5th, 2019

Border Patrol busts meth trafficker, hiding $1 million in drugs inside of decorative rocks

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Calexico East commercial facility arrested a Mexicali man on Friday after discovering 395 pounds of methamphetamine stashed inside the shipment of decorative rocks he was hauling.

photo/ Nancy Hill

“The port’s roving canine team was a major factor in bringing down this narcotic smuggling attempt,” said Area Port Director David Salazar. “Thorough examinations of commercial goods entering U.S. commerce are vital to ensuring safe and secure international trade.”

At approximately 6:15 p.m. on Feb. 1, CBP officers encountered the 66-year-old Mexican citizen as he entered the port of entry driving a Freightliner tractor and towing a trailer containing a manifested shipment of decorative rocks.  During a preliminary inspection, a CBP canine alerted to the conveyance, and officers referred the driver for further screening through the port’s X-ray imaging system.

CBP officers reviewed the X-ray scans and detected anomalies inside cavities within the artificial rocks. Officers offloaded the shipment, searched the hollow areas in the rocks, and ultimately discovered 120 wrapped packages of methamphetamine concealed inside.

Once removed, the methamphetamine yielded a total weight of 395 pounds, with an estimated street value of $1.1 million.

CBP officers seized the tractor, trailer and narcotics.

The driver was arrested for the alleged narcotic smuggling attempt.  CBP officers turned him over to Homeland Security Investigations agents for further processing.  He was later transported to the Imperial County Jail where he currently awaits arraignment.

CBP officers at the border crossings in Southern California routinely stop illegal activity, while processing millions of legitimate travelers into the United States.  Those statistics can be found here: CBP-enforcement-statistics

If you have any information related to this seizure or any other suspected smuggling activity at the Calexico East Cargo facility, DHS encourages you to report it by calling its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form.

On the DISPATCH: Headlines  Local  Opinion

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