Feds Seize $7m in Drugs Concealed as Medical Supplies

SAN DIEGO, CA – A record drug bust of over $7 million in drugs weighing over 3,000 pounds happened October 9 at the Otay Mesa cargo facility in San Diego, CA.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) says that this is the second largest methamphetamine bust that happened along the southwest border in the history of the agency based on DEA information.

On October 9, at the Mesa cargo facility in San Diego, a truck entered the location coming from Mexico. The truck’s manifest showed that it was hauling medical supplies.

The officer on duty referred the truck, driver, and shipment for a secondary inspection using K9 units and the port’s scanning system. 

The K9 unit started acting upon the shipment inside the truck, prompting officers to unload the cargo. 1,816 packages of drugs were the total discovered in the cargo. The drug packages were mixed alongside medical supplies like spray bottles, decontaminants, pipette tools, and pipetted tips (used for sampling and dispensing liquid.)

The total of drugs that were found in the 1,816 packages is as follows:

  • 3,014 pounds of methamphetamine,
  • 64 pounds of heroin,
  • 29 pounds of fentanyl powder,
  • 37 pounds of fentanyl pills,

Totaling to $7.2 million.

Feds Seize $7m in Drugs Concealed as Medical Supplies - The truck before unloading
The concealed packages in the suspected trailer

“Smugglers will try every way possible to try and get their product across the border and because of the partnership between CBP, Homeland Security investigations and DEA this significant seizure occurred and we stopped them,” said Anne Maricich, acting CBP director of field operations in San Diego. “I’m proud of the CBP officers’ dedication to our mission; they continue to stop dangerous drugs from entering our communities.”

The driver, a 47-year-old male Mexican citizen whose name has not yet been disclosed has been arrested and turned over to the custody of the joint investigative team from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

He is facing criminal charges and deportation.

“This massive seizure is testament of what law enforcement agencies can do when we combine forces – prevent over $7 million worth of deadly drugs from entering our country; thus saving countless lives from addiction and overdose deaths,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge John W. Callery. “DEA cherishes our great law enforcement partners in San Diego, especially those who work tirelessly to protect our nation’s borders.  We will continue to work together to disrupt drug trafficking organizations at every opportunity we are given.”

“This significant seizure is a prime example of how a successful partnership between HSI, CBP, and DEA results in the disruption of transnational criminal organizations while protecting our country from dangerous illicit drugs,” said Juan Munoz, acting Special Agent in Charge of HSI in San Diego. “We will continue to work tirelessly to bring those responsible to justice.”

Despite the pandemic COVID-19 slowing down every aspect of the country, it seems that the transportation of illegal substances is on the increase.

This year so far, other record drug busts took place, including:

You can find the CBP press release covering the event on the CBP website.