San Diego – Law enforcement officials intercepted three smuggling attempts over the last week in San Diego and Ventura Counties. Agents arrested 22 suspects and confiscated $2,404,185 in marijuana and methamphetamine.
Tuesday at approximately 12:30 a.m., California National Guardsmen working in support of Customs and Border Protection alerted Border Patrol agents assigned to coastal enforcement duties of a panga landing near Deer Creek beach in Ventura County. Border Patrol agents responded to the scene and, through the collaborative efforts of several agencies including the U.S. Coast Guard, California National Guard, California State Parks and the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, arrested 20 suspected smugglers and confiscated 4,087 pounds of marijuana worth an estimated $2,048,095. The 20 suspects, narcotics, and boat were turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE HSI) for further investigation.
On Monday, at about 11:30 a.m., agents assigned to the Interstate 5 Border Patrol checkpoint encountered a 22-year-old male United States citizen driving a silver 2000 Mazda 626 and his 21-year-old male United States citizen passenger. Agents became suspicious of the men’s demeanor and referred them for a secondary inspection. A Border Patrol K-9 performed a cursory inspection of the vehicle resulting in an alert. Agents searched the vehicle and discovered four bundles of methamphetamine inside the trunk in plastic grocery bags. The methamphetamine weighed 12.02 pounds and had an estimated street value of $240,400. The suspected smugglers and narcotics were taken into custody and turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration for further investigation. The vehicle was seized by the U.S. Border Patrol.
On June 8, at approximately 9:10 a.m., a Border Patrol K-9 team patrolling near the I-5 checkpoint stopped in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant. As the agent exited the vehicle, his K-9 alerted to the trunk of a nearby silver 2011 Toyota Camry. A subsequent search of the trunk revealed nine bundles of marijuana. The bundles weighed 231.28 pounds and had an estimated street value of $115,690. The marijuana and vehicle were taken into custody and turned over to ICE HSI for further investigation.
If you have information about maritime smuggling or suspicious activity along the coast of Southern California, please contact the Sector San Diego U.S. Coast Guard Joint Harbor Operations Center at (800) 854-9834.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.