2 arrested trying to smuggle $500K in drugs into SoCal with toddler in car

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found various narcotics hidden in the roof of a Mazda during an inspection at the Highway 86 checkpoint on Saturday, May 27, 2017. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents arrested two women trying to smuggle drugs by stuffing them in the roof of their car at a Southern California checkpoint - all while a 2-year-old girl was in the vehicle.

Last Saturday morning, a 45-year-old woman driving 2008 Mazda Tribute approached the checkpoint on Highway 86, which is part of the El Centro Sector. She was accompanied by her 23-year-old daughter rand 2-year-old granddaughter. The car was referred to a secondary checkpoint, according to a Border Patrol press release.

At the secondary inspection, a canine team alerted to the car. An extensive search of the vehicle turned up 18 packages of narcotics hidden in the roof of the Mazda.

In total, the packages consisted of 33.12 pounds of cocaine, 4.41 pounds of methamphetamine and 2.6 pounds of heroin. The combined estimated street value of the seizure was $547,312.

The individuals involved as well as the car and the narcotics were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration for further investigation.

Just a few days later on Monday, Border Patrol agents made another arrest. Around 4:40 a.m., a 22-year-old woman driving a 2010 Chrysler 300 approached the same checkpoint.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found more than 50 pounds of methamphetamine during an inspection at the Highway 86 checkpoint on Monday, May 29, 2017.


When the car was referred to a second inspection, agents found 67 packages inside the gas tank of the car. The packages contained 51.73 pounds of methamphetamine with an estimated street value of $165,536.

The woman, who agents described as a U.S. citizen, was arrested. She, along with her car and narcotics, were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration for further investigation.

Within the fiscal year of 2017, the El Centro Sector has seized more than 739.49 pounds of methamphetamine, 134.87 pounds of heroin and 424.37 pounds of cocaine, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

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