San Diego/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on February 26, 2024
CBP at California's Otay Mesa Seizes Over $3 Million in Cocaine Hidden in Lime ShipmentSource: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

In a bust that's sure to leave a sour taste for drug traffickers, authorities at the Otay Mesa Commercial Facility in California intercepted a truckload of limes, which turned out to be a front for a massive cocaine shipment. On Thursday, during a routine check, Customs and Border Protection Officers discovered the drugs with the help of a keen-nosed K-9 unit.

The driver, a 42-year-old male with a border crossing card, was hauling what was supposed to be a juicy cargo of Persian limes, but a detailed inspection revealed a much less wholesome haul. According to Customs and Border Protection's statement, CBP officers found and extracted 158 packages containing 435 pounds of cocaine. This considerable stash carried an estimated street value of over $3 million.

"Rain or shine are officers work tirelessly to ensure our communities are free of these dangerous drugs," said Rosa Hernandez, Port Director for the Otay Mesa Port of Entry. Her sentiments echo the dedication of the team working the frontline in the war against narcotics, a costly affair in both economic and human terms.

All suspects involved in the smuggling operation have been detained and handed over to Homeland Security Investigations, with the drugs, semi-truck, and trailer seized by authorities. These efforts, as the CBP reported, are part of Operation Apollo, which targets the entrance of fentanyl and other illicit substances into American neighborhoods. As part of this initiative, federal, state, and local agencies are banding together to keep streets and households safe from the grips of synthetic narcotics.

Border crossings such as that in Otay Mesa are critical junctures where legality and illegality often intersect. CBP officers remain vigilant against millions of legitimate entries, halting illegal undertakings even amidst the humdrum of everyday traffic. More on their ongoing enforcement actions and successes can be found on the CBP's dedicated enforcement statistics page, and updates from the San Diego Field Office are regularly posted to their X account.