SALTON CITY – El Centro Sector Border Patrol agents assigned to the Highway 86 checkpoint, arrested a man suspected of smuggling cocaine on Friday afternoon.
The incident occurred at approximately 4:30 p.m., after a 21-year-old man and his three minor step-children, respectively 10, 7, and 6, approached the checkpoint in a black 2010 Toyota Camry.
During primary inspection, a Border Patrol detection canine alerted to the vehicle. Agents referred the man to the secondary inspection area for a closer examination.
After a more thorough inspection of the vehicle, agents discovered hidden compartments in the floor of the vehicle. The compartments contained 24 plastic wrapped packages containing cocaine.
The combined weight of the packages amounted to 56.54 pounds with an estimated street value of $678,480.
“Drug smuggling organizations will go to no ends to affirm their criminal intent,” said David S. Kim, Assistant Chief Patrol Agent. “I commend our agents for the hard work and dedication to keep our communities safe.”
The man, a United States citizen, the vehicle, and the narcotics were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration for further investigation. The minors were taken into protective custody by the Imperial County Child Protective Services.
Since fiscal year 2017, which started Oct. 1, 2016, El Centro Sector seized more than 321.37 pounds of cocaine.