San Diego

Border Patrol Stops Suspected Drug Smuggler in Murrieta

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents arrested a man with nearly $200,000 in narcotics hidden in his car.

Around 1:30 p.m. on Friday, CBP agents stopped a 53-year-old man driving a Dodge Journey SUV in Murrieta, off the northbound Interstate 215.

A K-9 search alerted agents to drugs, and a more thorough search revealed a hidden compartment within the side of the vehicle holding narcotics.

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Agents removed 57 bundles of methamphetamine and two bundles of heroin from the compartment, according to a statement from CBP.

The methamphetamine weighed 53.55 pounds and has an estimated street value of $128,520.

The two bundles of heroin together weighed 6.21 pound, a street value of $68,310.

CBP was unable to state what prompted the vehicle stop.

“Every seizure is different,” said San Diego Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Mark Endicott. “Not all of them are generated from community reports or tips. Some of them are just developed from pure observation from agents’ perspectives.”

Endicott said the San Diego CBP agents are highly skilled at recognizing signs of suspicious activity.

The drug bust occurred a day after Murrieta Border Patrol seized 34.94 pounds of methamphetamine from a 21-year-old driver, April 6.

“In recent years we have seized more methamphetamine than before,” said Endicott. “[Numbers] have gone up regarding cocaine, meth and heroin. We do seize more methamphetamine than other sectors in the Southwest border.”

Both suspected smugglers are booked into the Riverside County Jail and face state narcotic charges, according to CBP.

CBP said suspicious activity including human, drug and contraband trafficking can be reported to San Diego Border Patrol at (619) 498-9900.

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