Inspection of ‘Medical Supplies’ Truck Yields 2nd Largest Border Meth Bust in History

October 13, 2020 Updated: October 13, 2020

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at Otay Mesa, San Diego, uncovered the second largest methamphetamine bust along the southwest border in the agency’s history after a closer inspection of a truck purporting to carry medical supplies.

A driver arrived at the cargo border crossing on Oct. 9 with a tractor-trailer shipment that was “manifested as medical supplies,” according to a CBP release. An officer decided to refer the driver, truck, and shipment for a more intensive inspection, resulting in the seizure of more than 3,000 pounds of methamphetamine, fentanyl powder, fentanyl pills, and heroin.

The drugs seized involved about 3,014 pounds of methamphetamine, 64 pounds of heroin, 29 pounds of fentanyl powder, and almost 37 pounds of fentanyl pills, estimated to be worth $7.2 million. The CBP officers seized the drugs and arrested the driver, a 47–year-old male Mexican citizen.

He is expected to face criminal charges.

The bust was a result of information developed by the Drug Enforcement Administration working with the Homeland Security Investigations.

“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,” Anne Maricich, acting CBP director of field operations in San Diego, said in a statement. “I’m proud of the CBP officers’ dedication to our mission; they continue to stop dangerous drugs from entering our communities.”

The CBP oversees millions of travelers across the southwest border into the United States each year and seeks to stop any illegal activity.

The inspection of the truck involved using an imaging system that is similar to an X-ray. Officers noted some anomalies at the back of the trailer and sent the trailer to the dock, where a dog sniffed out the boxes inside and alerted the officers.

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Boxes carrying a total of more than 3,100 pounds of illicit drugs seized at the southwest border in San Diego, California, on Oct. 9, 2020. (US Customs and Border Protection)

The boxes carried more than 1,800 packages of drugs that “co-mingled with the medical supplies,” the CBP announced. The medical supplies were mainly clear pipette tips, disinfectant spray bottles, and calibrated pipette tools.

“This massive seizure is 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.

“DEA cherishes our great law enforcement partners in San Diego, especially those who work tirelessly to protect our nation’s borders. We will continue to work together to disrupt drug trafficking organizations at every opportunity we are given.”

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