Trucker busted with $3.9M in drugs hidden in shipment of boulders

Trucker busted with $3.9M in drugs hidden in shipment of boulders

Trucking news and briefs for Friday, Sept. 18, 2020:

Border Patrol agents found 229 packages of narcotics inside boulders on a shipment at the Tecate, California, cargo crossing.

Trucker busted with $3.9M in drugs hidden in rocksU.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Tecate, California, cargo crossing had to break open quartz boulders on Monday, Sept. 14, to find 229 packages of methamphetamine and cocaine hidden inside.

At about 10:45 a.m. on Sept. 14, a truck driver arrived at the Tecate border crossing with a shipment listed on the manifest as multiple tons of beach pebbles and stones, according to a statement from the Border Patrol. The CBP officer completing the inspection for entry to the U.S. referred the driver, truck and shipment to the dock.

At the dock, a CBP officer noticed discrepancies with the shipment, and a CBP canine team screened the shipment, which resulted in positive indications for narcotics, according to the Border Patrol.

Officers searched the truck, tractor-trailer and cargo containing various rocks, and ultimately had to break open the large quartz boulders that were part of the shipment. Inside, officers found packages wrapped with black electrical tape, which had been cemented inside the stones, CBP said.

Officers found 229 packages concealed inside the large rocks – 104 packages of methamphetamine and 125 packages of cocaine. Combined, the approximate 337 pounds of methamphetamine and 223 pounds of cocaine have an estimated street value of almost $3.9 million.

“Hard to believe, but this isn’t the first time CBP officers in California have had to actually break open rocks or other items to get at the narcotics that drug trafficking organizations have hidden inside,” said Jose Haro, officer in charge of the Tecate port of entry. “Our officers are well-trained to notice discrepancies to stop drug shipments like this from making their way into our communities.”

CBP officers seized the tractor-trailer, shipment and narcotics. The driver was not identified.

I-17 closure planned this weekend in PhoenixThe Arizona Department of Transportation will close I-17 Southbound in north Phoenix for a paving project this weekend, Sept. 19-21.

ADOT says drivers should avoid southbound I-17 between Jomax and Deer Valley roads and consider using alternate routes from 2 a.m. Saturday through 3 a.m. Monday.

The agency recommends drivers consider alternate routes via westbound State Route 74 or eastbound Carefree Highway. Another alternate route for drivers heading to the West Valley is southbound Loop 303, which connects with I-10 west of Sarival Avenue in Goodyear.

Southbound I-17 traffic exiting at Jomax Road will detour east and use southbound 19th Avenue and westbound Deer Valley Road.

A new top layer of smooth rubberized asphalt will be added along southbound I-17 this weekend. The freeway has been widened in both directions as part of the improvement project.

Northbound I-17 is scheduled to be closed between Deer Valley and Jomax roads the weekend of Sept. 26-28.

Importing and managing the logistics of your precious freight is no easy task. Compliance to U.S. Customs & Border Patrol is essential to your cargo clearing customs. Use a freight forwarder to lower your chances of having shipment delays and to oversee all of your international freight logistics. Contact a customs broker to file your ISF and issue any pre-alerts to avoid penalties and delays, and arrange your ocean freight and imports customs clearance.