SAN DIEGO – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers intercepted two SENTRI members attempting to smuggle over $1 million worth of narcotics at the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa port of entry.
The first interception occurred, Wednesday, at approximately 5:15 a.m., CBP officers were conducting vehicle enforcement inspections in the pre-primary area. CBP officers encountered a 71-year-old male driving a pick-up truck through the dedicated commuter lane. During an initial inspection CBP officers noticed tampering on the truck’s spare tire. CBP officers referred the pick-up truck to secondary inspection for further examination.
A non-intrusive inspection was utilized to conduct a full scan of the truck. After examination, irregularities were observed in the spare tire. At this time a CBP human/narcotic detector dog was requested and alerted CBP officers to the presence of narcotics.
CBP officers discovered and extracted a total of 54 packages concealed within the spare tire. The narcotics were tested and identified as methamphetamine with a total weight of 49.03 pounds, with an estimated street value of $322,480.
The following day, at approximately 4:50 a.m., CBP officers encountered a 21-year-old male, driving a 2007 Toyota sedan through the dedicated commuter lane, applying for admission into the United States.
During initial inspection, the CBP officer referred the vehicle for further examination. Upon further inspection, officers discovered packages concealed within the rear back seat and radioed for assistance.
A Canine Enforcement Officer responded to the scene with a CBP human/narcotic detector dog and alerted to the presence of narcotics.
After a thorough inspection, CBP officers discovered a total of 20 packages concealed in the rear seat backrest of the vehicle. The narcotics were tested and identified as cocaine with a total weight of 52.11 pounds, and an estimated street value of $827,400.
CBP officers seized both vehicles and narcotics. The two drivers were detained for alleged narcotic smuggling attempt and were turned over to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for further processing.
The Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection (SENTRI) is a program along the southwest land border that allows expedited screening for pre-approved, low risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. Participants of the program may utilize dedicated “express lanes” to enter the United States at land ports of entry across the nation. All SENTRI applicants undergo a rigorous background check, provide biometric information including fingerprints, and an in-person interview as part of the approval process.