United States authorities seized almost US $3 million worth of methamphetamine hidden in a shipment of onions in San Diego, California, on February 20.
Officers from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the Otay Mesa border crossing between Tijuana, Baja California, and San Diego stopped a 46-year-old Mexican national driving a tractor-trailer.
A CBP canine team screened the truck and trailer and a sniffer dog indicated there was contraband on board. CBP officers unloaded more than 606 kilograms of methamphetamine in 1,197 small packets in sacks that were alongside the onions.
The packages of the the highly addictive illegal stimulant were shaped into small globes with a white covering, designed to blend in with the onions they were hidden with. The CBP estimated that the narcotics had a street value of around $2.9 million.
The driver was handed over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Homeland Security Investigations.
CBP’s director of field operations in San Diego, Sidney Aki, gave the criminals some credit for their efforts.
“This was not only a clever attempt to try and smuggle in narcotics, one I haven’t seen before, but also time consuming to wrap narcotics into these small packages, designed to look like onions,” he said.
It shows “the lengths drug trafficking organizations are willing to go to as they try to smuggle narcotics into the U.S. While we have certainly seen narcotics in produce before, it’s unusual for us to see this level of detail in the concealment,” he added.
Mexican federal security forces seized nearly six tonnes of methamphetamine from a property in Sinaloa on January 27 in what authorities called “the most important seizure made under the current government.”
In November, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced a massive almost eight-tonne bust at Otay Mesa. A Mexican citizen was arrested on trafficking charges.
With reports from Milenio