(NewsSpace.com) – When it comes to drugs, traffickers have to find creative ways to skirt authorities and drug-sniffing dogs. They often try to conceal large packages inside other items being moved for sale. A recent bust yielded millions of dollars of cocaine and meth hidden inside an unlikely culprit: jalapeño paste.
On Thursday, December 14, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a press release detailing the seizure that occurred the day prior. Officers stopped a tractor-trailer driven by a 28-year-old hauling jalapeño paste at the Otay Mesa Cargo Facility. The shipment was eventually referred for a second look, which involved a K-9 unit.
The dog alerted CBP officials to a potential issue, which triggered an in-depth look at the contents within the vats. What they found was an astonishing amount of methamphetamine, 3,161.43 pounds, and cocaine, 522.5 pounds, concealed inside 349 packages submerged in the vats. The drugs have a street value of approximately $10.4 million.
The CBP officers seized both the tractor-trailer and the drugs and turned the driver, who has the appropriate border crossing documentation, to the Department of Homeland Security Investigations.
This is far from the only time traffickers have used ordinary products to ship drugs. On December 15, the US Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California announced the arrests of two men who sent meth and cocaine inside commercial products, which included car parts, subwoofers, and instant noodles. These shipments were headed to New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and Australia.
Law enforcement was able to seize more than 1,600 pounds of meth and over 220 pounds of cocaine. The drugs in this case have a street value of between $65 million and $160 million. The men are facing charges of conspiracy to export controlled substances and conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. They are seeking two more arrests in the case for the same charges.
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