Federal and local law enforcement officials seized a record-setting load of cartel-connected methamphetamine in San Diego County, California. The drugs, loaded 20-foot box truck, weighed in excess of 5,000 pounds and are reported to be the largest seizure in San Diego County.
During the afternoon of July 7, federal officials observed a box truck enter the U.S. through the Otay Mesa Commercial Port of Entry, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California. Law enforcement agencies surveilled the truck to its destination in National City, California. The agents watched as the alleged drug smugglers unloaded the truck into a Dodge van.
At that point, law enforcement officers moved in and arrested Rafael Alzua, 37; Mario Contreras, 41; Ethgar Velazquez, 44; and Galdrino Contreras, 41, prosecutors stated. Officials listed all four suspects as residents of Tijuana, Mexico.
An inspection of the boxes revealed more than 5,000 pounds of drugs that later tested positive for methamphetamine.
“This is a significant accomplishment by our law enforcement partners,” U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman said in a written statement. “Due to stellar work by law enforcement agents, the government stopped more than 5,000 pounds of methamphetamine from being distributed on our streets.”
The case is being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, Border Crime Suppression Team, Homeland Security Investigations, and the United States Border Patrol.
DEA Special Agent in Charge Shelly S. Howe stated, “This monumental seizure represents another win against drug cartels that fuel addiction in the United States. Because of our great partnerships with other law enforcement agencies, we will continue to disrupt the cartels’ flow of drugs into our cities.”
San Diego County Sheriff Anthony C. Ray added, “I am grateful for the hard work, vigilance, and steadfast dedication of our Sheriff’s Detectives, as well as our local, state, and federal partners. Our partnership and collaboration allow us to share information that is absolutely critical in keeping drugs from entering our streets and holding drug traffickers accountable.”
The four men from Mexico now face charges of Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine. If convicted, each could face a prison term of ten years to life and a fine of up to $10 million.
Court records were not yet available in the document tracking system.