Smugglers Use Children as a Diversion

Release Date: October 3, 2019

PINE VALLEY, Calif. — U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested a woman yesterday at the Interstate 8 checkpoint who had 160 packages of methamphetamine hidden inside her SUV.  The woman also had her two minor children in the car, which is a repeat of a smuggling incident that occurred on Tuesday.

The incident began on Wednesday, October 2, at around 6:30 p.m., when a woman driving a silver Nissan Murano approached the checkpoint.  A Border Patrol K-9 team performed a sniff of the vehicle, which resulted in an alert.  The agent sent the woman to secondary inspection for further examination.

In secondary, a K-9 performed a second sniff of the vehicle and alerted to the driver’s door and passenger-side rear-cargo area.  Agents searched and discovered plastic-wrapped bundles concealed in the rear cargo area, rear bumper, center console, and all four doors.  Agents also retrieved bundles inside the SUV’s spare tire.  A total of 160 bundles of meth were recovered, which weighed 157.54 pounds and had an estimated street value of $362,342.

Agents discover 160 bundles of meth hidden inside a car with two children passengers.
Agents discover 160 bundles of
meth hidden inside a car with
two child passengers.

The driver, a 32-year-old U.S. citizen, was placed under arrest.  The narcotics were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration and the vehicle was seized by the U.S. Border Patrol.  The two minor children, aged 12 and 13, were released to family members.

“This is the second event this week where drug smugglers used children as a diversion,” said San Diego Sector Chief Patrol Agent Douglas Harrison.  “I am proud of our agents’ dedication.  They diligently safeguard children from being used as decoys to benefit transnational criminal organizations.”

To prevent the illicit smuggling of humans, drugs, and other contraband, the U.S. Border Patrol maintains a high level of vigilance on corridors of egress away from our Nation’s borders.  To report suspicious activity to the U.S. Border Patrol, contact San Diego Sector at (619) 498-9900

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