Customs agents foil several pot-smuggling attempts


6:12 p.m. September 25, 2008

U.S. Customs and Border Protection:

Hundreds of pounds of bundled marijuana was seized in vehicles at the border this week.

SAN YSIDRO – Thirteen suspected drug smugglers tried unsuccessfully this week to hide marijuana in various areas of their vehicles – including the floorboard, gas tank, roof, bumpers and a spare tire.
The suspected smuggling attempts, which occurred Tuesday and Wednesday, were foiled by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the San Ysidro Port of Entry.

CBP officers arrested 12 drivers and one passenger and seized a total of more than 1,500 pounds of marijuana worth more than $680,000.

Eight of the drivers are U.S. citizens and four are Mexican nationals, CBP officials said Thursday.

The largest seizure occurred Wednesday night. The 24-year-old driver of a 2003 Ford Expedition, a female U.S. citizen, was arrested after CBP officers found 544 pounds of marijuana concealed in the SUV's floor, quarter panels, dashboard and bumpers.

The other Wednesday interceptions included 80 pounds of marijuana found in the tires of a 2001 Nissan Sentra driven by a 18-year-old male U.S. citizen; 87 pounds in the gas tank of a 2000 Ford Expedition driven by a 22-year-old female U.S. citizen; and 58 pounds in the dashboard and spare tire of a 2002 Mercury Mountaineer driven by an 18-year-old woman who had a 19-year-old passenger, both U.S. citizens.

Eight interceptions were made Tuesday, including more than 48 pounds in the gas tank of a 1996 Ford Explorer driven by a 24-year-old Mexican male; about 41 pounds in the bumpers of a 1993 Nissan Sentra driven by an 18-year-old female U.S. citizen; 195 pounds found in the roof of a 1994 Mitsubishi Expo driven by a 38-year-old Mexican man; and 157 pounds in the tires of a 1997 Jeep Cherokee driven by a 38-year-old Mexican man.

The other Tuesday interceptions included 109 pounds of marijuana in the tires of a 1991 Toyota Tacoma driven by a 17-year-old Mexican man; 29 pounds in the spare tire of a 2004 Nissan Frontier driven by a 26-year-old U.S. man; more than 47 pounds in the roof of a 1997 Mitsubishi Montero driven by a 33-year-old male U.S. citizen; and more than 120 pounds in the tires of a 1997 Ford Explorer driven by a 26-year-old male U.S. citizen.

Breaking News Team: (619) 293-1010; breaking@uniontrib ... 25pot.html