California

Mom’s minivan held five kids – and 231 pounds of drugs, border agents say

How cartel drugs are smuggled at U.S.-Mexico border

At U.S.-Mexico border towns, cartel drug smugglers are only limited by their imagination, often hiding drugs in secret compartments within vehicles.
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At U.S.-Mexico border towns, cartel drug smugglers are only limited by their imagination, often hiding drugs in secret compartments within vehicles.

A Honda Odyssey driven by a 34-year-old woman carried something more than her five children across the border from Mexico early Monday morning, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents say.

Agents also found 231 pounds of methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin with an estimated street value of $1 million in the van after a check at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry in San Diego, Calif., reported The San Diego Union Tribune. The woman was arrested and her children handed over to a family member.

Officers at the border shortly after midnight Monday sent the van through an imaging system, which detected items out of the norm in the spare tire well, quarter panels, doors and gas tank, officials told KSWB. They found 206 wrapped packages of drugs hidden in the vehicle.

“CBP has seen many forms of drug smuggling through the years,” Pete Flores, director of field operations for CBP in San Diego, told KNSD. “The hardest ones are when adults include their children in attempted smuggling schemes.”

Other unusual smuggling attempts:

  • In November, Mexican authorities discovered a pot-shooting bazooka and 1,800 pounds of marijuana just over the border from Arizona, according to The Arizona Daily Star.
  • Also in November, border patrol agents in southern Arizona arrested an 18-year-old man accused of trying to smuggle 10 bundles of marijuana across the border on a zip line, reported The Arizona Republic.
  • In February 2017, authorities found a pot-hurling catapult south of the border fence, reported The Arizona Daily Star.
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