A routine traffic stop at the Otay Mesa Cargo Facility in Southern California last week led to the discovery of over $10 million worth of narcotics hidden inside a shipment of jalapeño paste. The 28-year-old driver, a valid border crossing card holder, was detained after border officers found 3,161.43 pounds of methamphetamine and 522.5 pounds of cocaine concealed in a commercial tractor-trailer.
The incident occurred just after 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday when border officers noticed a driver hauling vats of jalapeño paste in a commercial tractor-trailer. The officers became suspicious and referred the driver to a secondary inspection, along with his rig and its shipment. Upon further examination, a CBP K-9 unit detected a “hot find” and officers discovered 349 suspicious packages hidden inside the barrels of jalapeño paste.
After conducting tests on the packages, it was confirmed that they contained a total of 3,161.43 pounds of methamphetamine and 522.5 pounds of cocaine. The drugs were immediately seized and the driver was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations for further processing. The identity of the driver has not been disclosed.
A 28-year-old man caught some heat with the US Customs and Border Protection in San Diego County after officers say they found thousands of pounds of meth and cocaine hidden in a shipment of jalapeño paste. https://t.co/hIEBK4VpTa pic.twitter.com/e2JsmiXFCk
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) December 18, 2023
Otay Mesa Port Director, Rosa Hernandez, praised the work of the CBP K-9 teams in detecting the drugs. “Our K-9 teams are an invaluable component of our counter-narcotics operations, providing a reliable and unequaled mobile detection capability,” she said. “We will continue to protect our communities and stifle the growth of transnational criminal organizations, one seizure after another.”
This seizure is just one of many that the CBP’s San Diego Field Office has made in recent months. According to a statement, the agency seized a total of more than 14,000 pounds of narcotics in November alone. This highlights the relentless efforts of the CBP to combat drug smuggling and protect the safety of the American people.
Narcotics smuggling continues to be a major issue at the U.S.-Mexico border. In the fiscal year 2019, the CBP seized over 860,000 pounds of narcotics, with methamphetamine being the most commonly seized drug. The agency also made nearly 1,600 arrests in connection with drug smuggling attempts.
The CBP urges the public to report any suspicious activity at the border by contacting the agency’s Border Patrol Station. The agency also reminds travelers that possession of illegal drugs at the border is a violation of federal law and can result in imprisonment and/or fines.