On December 13th, Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officials stopped a commercial tractor-trailer as it attempted to cross into the US at the San Diego, CA port of entrance. It was intercepted at the Otay Mesa Cargo Facility and CBP officials retrieved hundreds of bundles of drugs out from drums of jalapeño paste.
The driver, a legal border-card-holding 28-year-old, was arrested, but he was only caught because of the CBP K-9 units. Running a quick scan across the truck, the dogs were set loose, and upon their hit, officials examined the truck more closely.
Once opened, officials quickly started identifying and removing the bundles. In total, 332 packages of cocaine and meth were recovered. As these were large packages, this translated to 3,161.42 pounds of meth and 522.5 pounds of cocaine for a total of 3,684 pounds. Given the current street prices and the sheer volume of product, that translates into $10,430,000 in street value.
Rosa Hernandez, director of Otay Mesa Port, beamed with pride for her officers. “Our K-9 teams are an invaluable component of our counter-narcotics operations, providing a reliable and unequaled mobile detection capability. By implementing local operations under Operation Apollo and CBP’s Strategy to Combat Fentanyl and other Synthetic Drugs, we will continue to secure communities and stifle the growth of transnational criminal organizations, one seizure after another.”
In comparison, the San Diego CBP field office recovered just over 14,000 pounds of narcotics in November. This figure is spread out across multiple arrests and not just a few big shipments like this. Additionally, this bust represents a significant change in how cartels are looking to move narcotics. Since Title 42 ended, they had been taking advantage of drug mules running packs across the border. Now it seems as if they are going back to their roots and trying to flood the border via cargo.