United States Customs and Border Protection Seizes $2.9 Million of Methamphetamine Hidden Within Onion Shipment; Sidney Aki Comments
OTAY MESA, CA - Fresh produce once again fell victim to the illegal actions of criminals as United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers at the Otay Mesa, California, commercial facility recently uncovered almost 1,200 small packages of methamphetamine. The alleged drugs were discovered hidden amongst an unassuming shipment of onions.
“This was not only a clever attempt to try and smuggle in narcotics, one I haven’t seen before, but also time-consuming to wrap narcotics into these small packages, designed to look like onions,” said Sidney Aki, CBP Director of Field Operations in San Diego. “These efforts show how effective our officers are, and as a response, the lengths drug trafficking organizations are willing to go to as they try to smuggle narcotics into the U.S. While we have certainly seen narcotics in produce before, it’s unusual for us to see this level of detail in the concealment.”
The alleged drugs were uncovered during an inspection of what authorities thought was a tractor trailer of onions, a press release stated. During the exam, the CBP canine team screened the truck and trailer and a detector dog alerted to the possible illicit substances inside.
Upon searching, officers found 1,197 packages of methamphetamine mixed with onions in sacks. The packages were shaped into small globes with a white covering placed over them to blend with the onions they were concealed amongst. Overall, CBP officers recovered approximately 1,336 lbs of methamphetamine worth an estimated street value of $2.9 million.
The driver was arrested and turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security Investigations (HIS) for further investigation.
Thank you to the diligent officers that continue to protect the reputation of fresh produce everywhere.