Salton City, California - El Centro Sector Border Patrol agents assigned to the Indio Station working at the Highway 86 checkpoint, arrested a man suspected of drug smuggling after they discovered packages of methamphetamine hidden inside the spare tire of the vehicle on Wednesday.

The incident occurred at approximately 11:30 a.m., when a 36-year-old man approached the checkpoint driving a 2002 white Ford Explorer.

A Border Patrol detection canine alerted to the vehicle during a pre-primary inspection.  Agents referred the man to the secondary inspection area for a closer examination.  After an intensive search, agents discovered packages of methamphetamine hidden inside the vehicle’s spare tire.

The methamphetamine had a combined weight of nine pounds with an estimated street value of $81,000.

“The Border Patrol is continuously assessing the right combination of assets needed to maintain operational control of the border,” said Assistant Chief Patrol Agent David Kim.  “The threat constantly changes and we frequently fine-tune our enforcement posture to heighten the probability of its success.”

The man, a United States citizen, the vehicle, and narcotics were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration for further investigation.

In fiscal year 2016, El Centro Sector has seized than 500 pounds of methamphetamine.