SAN DIEGO – Officers with the United States Customs and Border Protection executed three searches resulting in drug seizures within hours of each other at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, authorities said.
In total, more than 89 pounds of methamphetamine and fentanyl were seized by officers from the vehicles of individuals enrolled in the Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection, according to officials with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
“The backbone of our SENTRI program relies on the persons enrolled being Trusted Travelers, so that we can speed inspections in those dedicated lanes,” Mariza Marin, CBP Port Director at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, said in a news release. “However, we know that those individuals are low risk, and not no risk, so while we speed these travelers along, they are not exempt from inspection. Seizures like these are one of the reasons that our SENTRI members are always inspected by our officers when entering the United States.”
All three seizures took place on July 21, with the first search having been conducted just after 6 a.m. on a person using the designated SENTRI lanes, the release stated. During this stop, 51.94 pounds of methamphetamines were discovered inside a spare tire well.
Less than an hour later, another individual using the SENTRI lane was found with 7.63 pounds of powder fentanyl in the undercarriage of his vehicle, according to CBP. The third and final seizure took place not 30 minutes later, just after 7:30 a.m., when officers found 30.16 pounds of methamphetamines concealed in their vehicle’s rear bumper and undercarriage.
Drugs seized during the stops weighed a combined total of 89.73 pounds and have an estimated street value of more than $272,000, CBP said. The drivers were all turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Homeland Security will conduct an investigation.
“CBP would like to remind the public that the ability to use these designated SENTRI lanes is a privilege. Violations of any kind will lead to expulsion from the program,” Anne Maricich, CBP Acting Director of Field Operations in San Diego, said in the release. “SENTRI lanes have always been a win-win for us, allowing for lower wait times for frequent border crossers, and more information so our officers can sort traffic and focus more on higher risk inspections. For the program to be effective though, our officers continue to stay vigilant to spot anyone who might attempt illegal activity, even if they were considered lower risk.”