Border Patrol stops two drug smuggling attempts

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NILAND, CA – El Centro Sector Border Patrol agents from the Indio Station assigned to both Highway 111 and Highway 86 checkpoints arrested two individuals suspected of drug smuggling in separate events.

The first incident occurred at approximately 9:30 p.m. Wednesday when a white 2016 Chevrolet Malibu approached the checkpoint at Highway 111 driven by a 63-year-old man accompanied by a 36-year-old male passenger.

According to a press release, Border Patrol agents referred the vehicle to secondary for a more thorough examination.

At secondary inspection, a Border Patrol detection canine alerted to the vehicle. After an intensive search, agents discovered six packages of narcotics stuffed inside a back pack in the vehicle’s trunk. It was determined that the passenger was the owner of the backpack.

The concealed packages tested positive for methamphetamine and had a combined weight of 6.52 pounds with an estimated street value of $20,864.

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

The driver of the Malibu, a United States citizen who stated he was an unauthorized cab driver, otherwise known in Spanish as a “raitero,” was released.

The second incident occurred at approximately 7:50 a.m. Thursday when a 32-year-old driver approached the checkpoint at Highway 86 driving a 2002 red Ford Explorer.

A Border Patrol canine detection team alerted to the vehicle during primary inspection. Agents referred the man to the secondary inspection area for a closer examination. After an intensive search, agents discovered eight packages of methamphetamine wrapped in clear cellophane hidden inside the inner tube of the spare tire.

The total weight of the narcotics was 25.57 pounds with an estimated street value of $81,824.

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

“Our K-9 agents play a vital role in the safeguarding of our communities by preventing dangerous drugs from reaching our city streets,” said Assistant Chief Patrol Agent David S. Kim.

In fiscal year 2017, the El Centro Sector has seized more than 587.33 pounds of methamphetamine.

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