Father-son nabbed in $715,000 pot bust

By Hailey Persinger

Monday, March 14, 2011 at 3:12 p.m.

EAST COUNTY — A father and son traveling together in separate vehicles were arrested about noon Sunday by U.S. Border Patrol agents at the Pine Valley checkpoint when nearly $715,000 worth of marijuana was found in the father’s trailer.

Agents discovered 23 cardboard boxes filled with about 1,190 pounds of marijuana, said Scott Simon, a Border Patrol agent.

The son, 26, was driving a 1996 GMC utility truck and was the first to stop at the Interstate 8 checkpoint, Simon said. When he acted suspiciously, he was asked to have his truck, which was registered to his father, undergo a secondary inspection, the agent said.

His father, 59, then pulled up in a 1996 Winnebago motor home with a trailer attached, Simon said. His vehicle also underwent a secondary inspection.

When Border Patrol search dogs alerted agents to something suspicious in the trailer, the father said he did not have a key to open it. Agents used a trailer key the son had to open it and discovered the marijuana.

The son, who lives in the Central Valley city of Wasco, and the father, a Cuban citizen in the United States illegally, were turned over to a drug task force for federal prosecution. The drugs and vehicles also were seized.

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