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By Jim Shilander
U.S. Border Patrol agents at the Interstate 5 checkpoint south of San Clemente arrested two men Wednesday, one north of the checkpoint and the second one at the checkpoint. Together, the two men had more than $1.3 million worth of hard narcotics.
The first arrest occurred when agents on patrol observed a suspicious vehicle heading north and initiated a vehicle stop at Crown Valley Parkway at approximately 1:30 p.m. The driver of the 2008 Toyota Camry was a 44-year-old U.S. citizen who indicated he was traveling to the San Fernando Valley. Agents requested and received permission to conduct a K-9 sniff of the sedan. The K-9 search resulted in a positive alert. Agents searched the vehicle and allegedly found multiple bundles of narcotics hidden inside a false compartment. The packages contained 1.21 pounds of black tar heroin, 17.20 pounds of China white heroin and 22.38 pounds of crystal methamphetamine and have an estimated street value of $573,720.
Hours later, a second arrest took place at the I-5 checkpoint. The driver, a 25-year-old U.S. citizen, arrived at the checkpoint driving a 2001 Toyota Solara and was referred to secondary inspection. At secondary, the driver consented to a K-9 sniff of the vehicle that resulted in a positive alert. Agents searched and allegedly discovered 69 packages of methamphetamine in the rear quarter panels of the vehicle. The methamphetamine weighed a total of 82.36 pounds and has an estimated street value of $823,600.
The narcotic bundles from both events have a total estimated street value of $1,397,320. The two men and narcotics were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration. The vehicles were seized by the U.S. Border Patrol.
Last fiscal year, San Diego Sector seized more than 2,880 ounces of heroin and more than 1,790 pounds of methamphetamine.