U.S. Border Patrol agents seized nearly 200 pounds of methamphetamine and cocaine in two separate vehicle inspections this past weekend in California. The alleged seizures resulted in the arrest of a Mexican national and a U.S. citizen on drug smuggling charges.
In the first seizure this past Saturday, agents assigned to the Indio Station in the El Centro Sector contacted a male driver in a 1997 Ford F-250 at a designated immigration checkpoint on Highway 86 at 8:50 am. Agents referred the male, identified as Rene Elizalde, a 22-year-old U.S. citizen, to a secondary inspection after a K-9 alerted to an odor, according to Border Patrol officials. The K-9 pointed to the driver’s side of the vehicle and agents utilized a fiber-scope camera to inspect the two gas tanks. In one, agents noted that the liquid did not have the appearance or characteristics of gasoline. Agents then tested the substance and discovered it was methamphetamine. The liquid methamphetamine had a total weight of 75 pounds with an estimated street value of $198,750.
“Liquid methamphetamine is an extremely dangerous form of the narcotic and thankfully our agents were able to prevent it from advancing further into the United States,” said Chief Patrol Agent Gloria I. Chavez.
Elizalde, along with the reportedly seized drugs, was handed over to the custody of the Drug Enforcement Administration for a review of criminal charges.
In the second seizure this past Sunday, agents assigned to the Indio Station in the El Centro Sector contacted a 35-year-old driver in a brown 2015 Renault Duster Expression at 3:30 pm. Agents referred the driver, who was determined to be a 35-year-old Mexican national, to a secondary inspection, according to the Border Patrol. Agents discovered 61 individually wrapped packages concealed within an aftermarket floor compartment underneath the driver and passenger seats.
A total of 56 of 61 packages reportedly tested positive for methamphetamine. The other five contained cocaine. The packages containing methamphetamine weighed 109.65 pounds and had an estimated street value of $284,856. The five packages of cocaine weighed 13.12 pounds, valued at $170,560.
The driver was turned over to the DEA for processing, according to a news release.
Robert Arce is a retired Phoenix Police detective with extensive experience working Mexican organized crime and street gangs. Arce has worked in the Balkans, Iraq, Haiti, and recently completed a three-year assignment in Monterrey, Mexico, working out of the Consulate for the United States Department of State, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Program, where he was the Regional Program Manager for Northeast Mexico (Coahuila, Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Durango, San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas.) You can follow him on Twitter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org