CBP leads second-largest meth bust on southern border

October 11, 2020

By a Biometrica staffer

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized more than 3,100 pounds of methamphetamine, fentanyl powder, fentanyl pills, and heroin at the Otay Mesa commercial facility on Friday. This was part of the second largest methamphetamine bust along the southwest border in the history of the CBP, based on information developed by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), working jointly with the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

On October 9, at about 9:45 a.m., a driver arrived at the cargo border crossing with a tractor-trailer shipment that was manifested as medical supplies. The officer referred the driver, truck, and shipment for a more intensive inspection, the DEA said in a statement on Sunday.

CBP officers screened the truck using the port’s imaging system, similar to an x-ray, and found anomalies with the rear of the trailer. The conveyance was sent to the dock and a canine alerted to the boxes inside the trailer. Officers offloaded the shipment and discovered 1,816 packages comingled with the medical supplies, which were mainly clear plastic pipette tips, spray bottles of surface decontaminate, and calibrated pipette tools used for sampling and dispensing liquid.

The officers later extracted around 3,014 pounds of methamphetamine, 64 pounds of heroin, 29 pounds of fentanyl powder, and almost 37 pounds of fentanyl pills, worth an estimated $7.2 million.  CBP officers seized the narcotics and conveyance.

“This massive seizure is a testament of what law enforcement agencies can do when we combine forces – prevent over $7 million worth of deadly drugs from entering our country; thus, saving countless lives from addiction and overdose deaths,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge John W. Callery.

The driver, a 47–year-old male Mexican citizen, was arrested and turned over the custody of the joint investigative team from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), HSI and DEA. He will face criminal charges. “Smugglers will try every way possible to try and get their product across the border and because of the partnership between CBP, Homeland Security Investigations, and DEA, this significant seizure occurred and we stopped them,” said Anne Maricich, acting CBP director of field operations in San Diego.