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Thursday, September 29, 2022
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$12 Million in Narcotics Seized at California Border

National

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers found and seized 362 packages of cocaine and 18 packages filled with fentanyl inside heavy machinery during a search on Aug. 5 | Image by San Diego Customs and Border Protection

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Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officers at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry in Southern California discovered more than $12 million in narcotics concealed within a shipment of heavy machinery gears earlier this month, according to a Thursday press release.

CBP agents at the Otay Mesa commercial facility reported that on August 5, at 9:16 a.m., a 37-year-old truck driver presented his valid Border Crossing Card to gain entry into the United States. The man was driving a 2009 Freightliner truck loaded with heavy machinery gears.

Following an initial inspection, officers referred the driver, truck, and trailer for further examination.

A CBP officer used his assigned human/narcotics detector dog to screen the shipment, which alerted him to one of the shipment’s mechanical gears. Officers noticed that one gear had inconsistent work done on it compared to the others.

Upon further inspection, CBP agents allegedly discovered 362 packages of cocaine, weighing 870.78 pounds, and 18 packages containing fentanyl, weighing 41.75 pounds, hidden within the machinery.

The narcotics discovered had a total street value of $12.8 million.

“No matter the size of the conveyance and concealing method smugglers attempt to use, our officers are keen at discovering even the most minuscule inconsistencies,” said Anne Maricich, Customs and Border Patrol acting director of field operations in San Diego. “Our officers will continue to prevent these deadly drugs from crossing our borders.”

The driver was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The drugs, as well as the truck and trailer, were seized by CBP officers.

CBP officers at border crossings deter illegal activity while processing millions of lawful visitors. CBP-enforcement statistics are available here.

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