Border Patrol seizes narcotics and $18K in currency

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SALTON CITY – In a press release, El Centro Sector Border Patrol representatives said agents assigned to the Indio Station arrested a man suspected of smuggling narcotics and bulk cash Tuesday night.

The incident occurred at approximately 8 p.m., when a silver 2003 Honda Accord coupe was traveling in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 10 near Eagle Mountain Road. Agents patrolling in the area performed a vehicle stop based on their observations, according to the press release.

During the vehicle stop, agents reportedly interviewed the driver and further observations by agents led to a request for a Border Patrol detection canine team to perform a canine sniff of the vehicle. The canine subsequently alerted to the rear part of the vehicle, according to the release.

Agents conducted a thorough search of the Honda and discovered an aftermarket compartment built into the driver’s side rear quarter panel. Shortly thereafter, agents reportedly pulled 16 bundles of black tar heroin and 18 bundles of methamphetamine from the compartment. Upon further search of the vehicle, agents also discovered $18,000 in bulk cash.

The methamphetamine had a total weight of 20.1 pounds with an estimated street value of $68,340. The heroin weighed a total of 20.6 pounds with an estimated street value of $226,000.

“This was great work by our agents discovering the narcotics and cash,” said David S. Kim Assistant Chief Patrol Agent. “These dangerous substances were intercepted and seizing the cash always hurts criminal enterprises’ bottom line.”

The man, a 27-year-old United States citizen, vehicle, currency and narcotics were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration for further investigation.

In fiscal year 2017, El Centro Sector has seized more than 683.35 pounds of methamphetamine and 116.41 pounds of heroin, the press release stated.