By Miriam Raftery
September 7, 2011 (San Diego) — A load of hot sauce hauled by a Mexican trucker had a secret ingredient: more than a ton of marijuana, with a street value of $1.4 million.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Otay Mesa cargo facility disiscovered the marijuana hidden in boxes of hot sauce on Friday.
“A 39-year-old male Mexican citizen and resident of Tijuana, entered the cargo port at 4 p.m. on September 1st driving a 1991 Freightliner tractor, pulling a trailer with cargo manifested as hot sauce,” reports Angelica De Cima with the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP). A CBP officer referred the driver and conveyance for a more intensive examination.
Officers ran the tractor trailer through the port’s x-ray imaging system that showed anomalies with the cargo. Officers then unloaded the shipment; they opened the boxes and discovered 123 wrapped packages of marijuana, comingled with bottles of hot sauce.
The driver was arrested and transported to the Metropolitan Correctional Center. CBP seized the marijuana, tractor, and trailer.
The find bolsters arguments by critics of America's trans-border trucking policies, who have contended that allowing Mexican truckers to operation in the U.S. would exacerbate drug smuggling problems.