Calexico, California - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Calexico East commercial facility stopped an alleged smuggling attempt Wednesday after discovering 1,815 pounds of marijuana concealed within a shipment of scrap metal.
Out of the hundreds of shipments that the officers saw that day, they identified that this shipment needed to be stopped,” said Director of Field Operations for San Diego and Imperial Counties, Pete Flores. “As a result, the officers prevented almost a ton of marijuana from entering U.S. communities, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential profit from reaching criminal organizations.”
The incident occurred shortly before 6 p.m. on Oct. 21, when CBP officers encountered a Kenworth tractor-trailer that had entered the cargo facility transporting a manifested shipment of scrap metal. Officers referred the commercial truck to the port’s dock for a more in-depth examination.
During an inspection of the conveyance, and following an alert from a CBP human-narcotics detector dog, officers discovered 64 foil wrapped bundles concealed in metal boxes that were mixed within the crates of scrap.
The bundles field-tested positive as marijuana, valued at approximately $726,000.
The driver, a 39-year-old male Mexican citizen and resident of Mexicali, Baja California, was turned over to the custody of Homeland Security Investigation agents for further processing.
CBP seized the marijuana, the truck and trailer.
In fiscal year 2014, the San Diego Field Office seized 132,075 pounds of marijuana at the border crossings between California and Mexico.