San Diego/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on May 23, 2024
Canine Units Sniff Out 400 Pounds of Cocaine at California's Otay Mesa Port, Suspect in CustodySource: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Customs and Border Protection officers made a sizeable bust at California's Otay Mesa Commercial Facility, seizing a whopping 400 pounds of cocaine hidden ingeniously in a commercial vehicle's fuel tanks. The discovery happened late on Friday when a 35-year-old man attempted to enter the U.S. from Mexico. The savvy CBP canine units were crucial to snipping out the stash after the driver, who held a valid border crossing card, was set aside for a more thorough inspection.

The drug-laden semi was directed to a secondary inspection area around 9:00 p.m., where the canine team quickly alerted officers to something suspicious. Upon closer examination, officers found packages intricately concealed in a non-factory compartment inside both truck fuel tanks. Those packages, tested and confirmed to be cocaine, totaled 160 in number and weighed in at 412.26 pounds. 

Rosa E. Hernandez, the Port Director for the Area Ports of Otay Mesa, praised the collaborative effort behind the seizure. "The continued success of OFO canine teams in the detection of narcotics is a team effort," she stated via the CBP news release. This coordinated strike was part of Operation Apollo, an ongoing campaign targeting the trafficking of drugs like fentanyl along the southern border, which first kicked off in southern California and recently expanded to Arizona.

The CBP officers seized the narcotics and the truck, turning over the driver to Homeland Security Investigations for further probing. Operation Apollo, which heralded the major bust, is focused squarely not only on deploying resources but on bolstering partnerships and intelligence, aiming to choke off the drug traffickers' supply chains that slither into the United States, according to a CBP news release.