Officials say they seized $2.3 million worth of marijuana mixed in with a shipment of jalapeño peppers at a Southern California port. A Customs and Border Protection K-9 unit alerted officers to a shipment of peppers Thursday at the Otay Mesa cargo facility in San Diego.
A CBP news release said officers discovered more than 7,500 pounds — nearly 4 tons — of marijuana in the peppers’ pallets.
The drug bust occurred last Thursday at the Otay Mesa port of entry near San Diego, according to a CBP press release. A 37-year-old Mexican citizen allegedly hid bricks of weed in a tractor trailer full of jalapeño peppers, which a canine team managed to sniff out. When CBP officials looked in the truck, they discovered 314 “wrapped packages of marijuana,” according to the release.
Very proud of our CBP officers in Otay Mesa! Last night they seized 7,560 pounds of marijuana in a shipment of jalapeno peppers and on Tuesday they seized another 10,642 pounds of marijuana in a shipment of plastic auto parts. Well done! pic.twitter.com/4EnoDGXWl3— Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan (@CBPMarkMorgan) August 17, 2019
Mark Morgan, the agency’s acting commissioner, congratulated the officers who found the drugs on Twitter.
Just two days earlier, border agents had found 10,642 pounds of weed hidden in a shipment of plastic auto parts. That same week, Coast Guard officers found 1,300 pounds of weed wrapped in trash bags floating off the coast of California. And in July, a Coast Guard officer jumped on top of a moving submarine that was being used to smuggle 17,000 pounds of cocaine.
It’s common for drug smugglers to hide drugs in agricultural shipments to try to get them across the border. And in 2018, the average port inspector seized eight times more cocaine and 36 times more heroin than the average Border Patrol agent, according to an analysis by the Cato Institute.