SALTON CITY â€“ El Centro Sector U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Highway 86 checkpoint arrested a woman suspected of smuggling cocaine in her luggage Thursday afternoon, according to a press release.
The incident occurred at approximately 4:30 p.m. after an 18-year-old woman approached the checkpoint as a passenger on a commercial bus.
A Border Patrol detection canine team reportedly alerted to the bus during a pre-primary inspection. Agents referred the bus to secondary for further inspection.
At secondary inspection, the canine inspection team conducted a sniff of the luggage compartment. A black backpack was removed from the compartment of the bus and through questioning, it was determined to belong to a female passenger. After the woman gave consent to search the bag, agents inspected the contents and reportedly discovered four plastic wrapped packages inside. The packages were inspected and tested positive for the characteristics of cocaine.
The combined weight of the drugs totaled 10.71 pounds with an estimated street value of $160,650.
â€œPublic conveyances and public transportation has long been used as a method of trying to smuggle narcotics and other contraband around the country,â€ said Assistant Chief Patrol Agent David S. Kim in a press release. â€œWe receive a good level of cooperation from common carriers which leads to safer traveling conditions for the public and a greater level of security for the nation.â€
The woman, a United States citizen, and the narcotics were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration for further investigation.