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$27M marijuana found hidden in shipment of papayas


More than 12,000 pounds of marijuana were discovered inside of a semi truck hauling papayas this week. 

The contraband was discovered on Monday, February 22nd at around 5:45 p.m. at the Otay Mesa port of entry in California. 

According to Customs and Border Patrol,  the rig was referred to the x-ray imaging system, where Customs and Border Patrol agents identified “anomalies” within the shipment. A drug detection dog was called in and immediately alerted to the shipment, prompting further inspection. 

Officers inspected the load and discovered 873 wrapped packages of marijuana hidden amongst the load of papayas. 

The 50-year-old Mexican citizen truck driver has since been taken into custody by agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and has been transported to the Metropolitan Correction Center in San Diego. The truck, trailer, and narcotics have also been seized. 

The 12,000 pounds of marijuana have an estimated street value of $27 million.

“CBP officers are vigilant to stop those who intend to do harm in our communities and at the border, as they attempt to enter the U.S.,” said Anne Maricich, Acting Director of Field Operations for CBP in San Diego. “Their enforcement efforts and experience are put to the test regularly, and the results are phenomenal as their focus is always to protect this country.”


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