Border Patrol stops three narcotic loads on Highway 86

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NILAND – U.S. Border Patrol agents from the Indio Station assigned to the Highway 86 checkpoint arrested three women suspected of drug smuggling in three separate events over the weekend, according to a news release from U.S. Custom and Border Protection office.

The first incident occurred Friday night when a 2008 Saturn Outlook driven by a 37-year-old woman approached the checkpoint on Highway 86. Agents referred the vehicle to secondary for further examination according to the release.

At secondary inspection, a Border Patrol detection canine team alerted to the vehicle. After an intensive search, agents reportedly discovered 92 packages of narcotics hidden in the roof of the Outlook. Agents removed 92 packages from the vehicle, of those, 90 packages tested positive for methamphetamine, and two packages tested positive for cocaine. The methamphetamine had a combined weight of 102.23 lbs. and the cocaine had a total weight of 5.3 lbs. The total estimated street value was $319,175 said the release.

The woman, the vehicle, and the narcotics were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration for further investigation.

The last two incidents occurred Sunday afternoon.

At approximately 3 p.m., a 35-year-old woman approached the checkpoint at Highway 86 in a 2006 Ford Focus. Agents referred the woman to secondary inspection for a closer examination. After an intensive search, agents found 30-cylinder type bundles underneath the trunk of the vehicle. The packages tested positive for the characteristics of methamphetamine, according to reports.

The methamphetamine had a total weight of 32.36 pounds with an estimated street value of $80,912, said the report.

The last incident happened in the evening when a 50-year-old woman approached the Highway 86 checkpoint in a 2010 Toyota Camry. During primary inspection, a K-9 team alerted to the gas tank of the vehicle. Agents referred the woman to secondary for further inspection.

After inspecting the gas tank with a fiberoptic scope, agents observed multiple objects inside the gas tank. Agents retrieved 28 packages that tested positive for the properties of methamphetamine. The total weight of the combined packages was 42.22 lbs. for an estimated street value of $105,550, according to the release.

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

In fiscal year 2017, El Centro Sector has seized more than 1,345.65 pounds of methamphetamine and 482.30 pounds of cocaine, said the release.