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Sep-14-2010 18:01printcomments

Border patrol stops SENTRI Member, mother with toddler each with about 40 Pounds of Cocaine

CBP officers seized 15 packages of cocaine weighing about 40 pounds from the vehicle of a SENTRI member

Cocaine smuggling

(San Diego, Calif) - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the San Ysidro port of entry Thursday seized 85 pounds of cocaine during two different apprehensions, one involving a SENTRI member, the other a mother with her three-year-old son also in the car.

At about 10:20 a.m., a 21-year-old male U.S. citizen, and resident of Tijuana, driving a silver 2002 Chevy Tracker presented his valid SENTRI card to the CBP officer. The CBP officer referred the car and driver for further inspection.

SENTRI, or the Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection, is a trusted traveler program along the southwest border that provides expedited CBP processing for pre-approved, low-risk travelers. Applicants must voluntarily undergo a thorough biographical background check against criminal, law enforcement, customs, immigration, and terrorist indices; a 10-fingerprint law enforcement check; and a personal interview with a CBP officer.

A narcotic detector dog alerted to the rear cargo floor of the vehicle, and CBP officers discovered 16 packages hidden in the vehicle with more than 40 pounds of cocaine, worth an estimated $405,000.

At about 3:50 p.m. officers roving through the lanes of traffic stopped after a narcotic detector dog alerted to the rear of a green 2002 Ford Explorer. CBP officers removed the driver, a 30-year-old female U.S. citizen, and resident of Temple, Calif., from the car, as well as her three-year-old son.

CBP officers seized 15 packages of cocaine weighing about 40 pounds from the vehicle of a SENTRI member

After further inspection, CBP officers removed 15 packages of cocaine from the vehicle’s gas tank, worth an estimated $440,000.

In both incidents, CBP officers seized the vehicles and narcotics and turned custody of the accused smugglers over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. Both drivers are currently being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center. The woman’s son was turned over to Child Protective Services.

“There is no profile of a smuggler,” said Pete Flores, acting director of field operations for CBP in San Diego. “Mothers, sons, grandparents, and even those we have vetted as trusted travelers can shock our officers when they are caught with narcotics in their vehicles. Our officers must be ever vigilant to prevent this and other illegal activity at the border.”

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.

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