Nearly $3 million worth of meth was seized by authorities in a shipment of onions at a federal facility in San Diego, and authorities are saying it is unusual to “see this level of detail in the concealment.”
On Feb. 20, a K-9 unit for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection conducted an inspection on a tractor-trailer of a shipment of onions in San Diego, according to officials. The K-9 unit alerted authorities regarding the onion shipment and officers ended up finding nearly 1,200 small packages of meth in the onions, according to a press release from the agency.
According to officials, the driver was a 46-year-old Mexican national who was not named. He was arrested for the alleged narcotic smuggling attempt at the Otay Mesa port-of-entry commercial vehicle facility, authorities said.
They found almost 1,200 bags of meth, and officials said the packages weighed more than 1,336 pounds (606 kilograms). The packages were shaped into small globes with a white covering, officers said, in an attempt to have the packages blend in well with the onions. Officials said the drugs were estimated to be worth $2.9 million on the street.
Sidney Akim, CBP Director of Field Operations in San Diego said, “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.”
They thought it could work, but the K-9 unit had other plans. Akim added, “These efforts show how effective our officers are, and as a response, 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.”
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The driver was arrested and turned over to the custody of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for further disposition. CBP officers also seized the tractor-trailer in addition to the narcotics.