Photo: Nissan Contained 51lbs of Cocaine
U.S. Customs and Border Protection Border Patrol agents working jointly with Riverside County Sheriff’s deputies, Murrieta Police officers, and California Highway Patrol officers arrested a suspected heroin smuggler who illegally fled from the Interstate 15 Border Patrol checkpoint on February 28.
At approximately 10:30 a.m., agents and Murrieta Police officers on patrol attempted to stop a red 2005 Dodge Neon just south of the I-15 checkpoint. The driver of the vehicle, a 28-year-old male United States citizen, failed to yield and threw two bundles of heroin out of his driver’s side window. Next, the suspected smuggler drove onto the center median and sped through the checkpoint. Agents alerted local law enforcement in the area who quickly responded to assist. Riverside County Sheriff’s deputies dispatched air assets to help in the search for the suspect, who exited the I-15 north onto Temecula Parkway. Sheriff’s deputies in the air observed the suspect hiding in some brush near the off ramp, and directed ground law enforcement officers to his location.
Deputies, agents, and officers responded to the area and took the suspect into custody. The suspect and heroin were subsequently turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration for further investigation. The suspected smuggler faces federal charges for narcotics smuggling and high speed flight from a checkpoint. The two heroin bundles weighed a total of nearly two pounds and had an estimated street value of $25,740. The vehicle involved in the incident was seized by CBP Border Patrol.
In addition, Border Patrol agents assigned to the I-5 and I-8 checkpoints seized $534,420 worth of cocaine and methamphetamine over the last three days. On February 28, agents assigned to the I-5 checkpoint near San Clemente arrested a 41-year-old male Mexican national after he attempted to smuggle more than 1 pound of methamphetamine in a silver 2002 Dodge Durango. A Border Patrol canine team alerted to a briefcase located on the rear seat of the vehicle. Agents subsequently searched the vehicle and discovered a softball-sized bundle of methamphetamine inside of the briefcase worth $20,720.
At approximately 4:15 p.m. on February 26, agents assigned to the I-8 checkpoint near Pine Valley arrested a 22-year-old female United States citizen for attempting to smuggle 20 bundles of cocaine worth an estimated $513,700. A Border Patrol canine team alerted to her gray 2008 Nissan Sentra and agents subsequently discovered 51.37 pounds of cocaine hidden inside of the vehicle’s gas tank.
The suspected smugglers and illicit narcotics involved in the smuggling events at the I-5 and I-8 checkpoints were taken into custody and turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration. The two vehicles involved in the smuggling events were seized by CBP Border Patrol.