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Truck hauled wood shavings into US. Dusty, hidden hand gave away other cargo, agents say

Drugs vs. Border: How smugglers get creative

About two million pounds of illegal drugs were seized by Customs and Border Protection in 2016. Here are some of the ways they are smuggled into the United States.
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About two million pounds of illegal drugs were seized by Customs and Border Protection in 2016. Here are some of the ways they are smuggled into the United States.

Borders agents were suspicious even before they ripped the tarp off a Mexican truck carrying wood shavings into San Diego County on Tuesday — and what they discovered under the tarp confirmed those suspicions.

There was a heap of pulpy wood shavings in the trailer, yes. But there was also a dusty hand hidden among the pulverized wood, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The hand was attached to a Mexican citizen who had stowed himself with the legitimate cargo, KGTV reports.

A 43-year-old truck driver had been hauling the wood shavings from Mexico into the U.S. at the Otay Mesa cargo port of entry in south San Diego County. His 2009 Freightliner truck caught agents’ attention when an imaging system scan revealed an anomaly in his truck’s trailer, agents said.

That’s when agents launched an “intensive examination,” according to Customs and Border Protection.

“We just did our inspection, went up there, removed the tarp from the top of the trailer and discovered one man hiding inside,” Customs and Border Protection Supervisor Shalene Thomas told FOX 5 San Diego.

Eventually, the man inside was taken into custody, Thomas told the TV station.

But first, he needed medical treatment.

“We actually took him to a hospital to be evaluated,” Thomas told FOX. “Who's to say how long he was in there and what kind of damage was done, so in order to make sure that we did our diligence to make sure that this person was adequately checked out and safe, we took him to the hospital, got him evaluated and then he was released” into custody.

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The 2009 Freightliner truck stopped in south San Diego County on Tuesday. U.S. Customs and Border Protection

As for the truck’s driver? He was a Mexican citizen who had a valid visa, border agents said.

“Smugglers utilize all routes possible to move people and narcotics,” Pete Flores, director of San Diego Customs and Border Protection field operations, said in a statement. Flores added that the agency “remains focused and alert to combat these attempts.”

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