East County News Service
May 19, 2015 (Otay Mesa) --U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Otay Mesa ports of entry seized a total of $8.1 million worth of narcotics over the weekend, including an interception of more than six tons of marijuana that was stashed in a commercial shipment of furniture and over a half million dollars of heroin.
The first incident occurred shortly before 12 p.m., on May 15, when CBP officers encountered a 1996 Freightliner tractor-trailer that entered the cargo facility carrying a manifested shipment of furniture. Officers referred the commercial truck to the port’s dock for a more in-depth examination.
During an inspection of the conveyance, CBP officers utilized the port’s imaging system and detected anomalies throughout the trailer and the pallets of merchandise loaded inside.
A CBP detector dog alerted to the pallets, and officers subsequently discovered 1,162 wrapped bundles of marijuana concealed inside boxes and behind a false-wall built into the front of the trailer.
A total of 12,657 pounds of marijuana was offloaded from the trailer, valued at approximately $7.6 million.
The driver, a 46-year-old male Mexican citizen and resident of Tijuana, Baja California, was turned over to the custody of Homeland Security Investigation agents for further processing.
The second incident occurred on May 16, at around 7:30 p.m., when a CBP canine team was screening vehicles as they waited in line for inspection at the Otay Mesa passenger port. The detector dog alerted to a 2007 Chrysler Sebring and the vehicle and driver were escorted to a secure area for further inspection.
While conducting an intensive search, officers discovered 32 wrapped packages of heroin concealed in both of the vehicle’s rocker panels.
A total of almost 49 pounds of heroin was removed from the vehicle, worth an estimated street value of more than $580,000.
The driver, a 57-year-old male U.S. citizen and resident of Las Vegas, was turned over to the custody of Homeland Security Investigation agents for further processing.
In both incidents, the drivers were transported to the Metropolitan Correctional Center to await criminal arraignment. CBP seized the vehicles and narcotics.