U.S. Border Patrol agents thwarted two separate smuggling attempts this week near Southwest Riverside County, the agency reported today.
At approximately 3 p.m. Tuesday, Border Patrol agents stopped a 20-year-old male U.S. citizen driving a 2006 Mercury Montego, along with an 18-year-old female Mexican national passenger, on Interstate 15 north near Temecula.
With the help of a Border Patrol K-9 team, agents discovered 17 vacuum-sealed bundles of methamphetamine inside of a large tire located in the trunk, according to U.S. Border Patrol agent Scott Simon.
“The narcotics weighed 18.74 pounds and had an estimated street value of $374,800,” Simon reported.
The suspected smuggler and narcotics were taken into custody and turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration; the female passenger is being held in Department of Homeland Security custody pending removal proceedings, and the vehicle was seized by the U.S. Border Patrol, Simon reported.
A few hours earlier, U.S. Border Patrol agents stopped a 35-year-old male U.S. citizen driving a 2009 Ford Econoline, along with a 36-year-old male Mexican national passenger, on the I-15 south near Rainbow.
A Border Patrol K-9 team alerted agents and a subsequent search of the vehicle revealed a total of $17,863 concealed inside packages of baby wipes, shop towels, and gloves, Simon reported. The men were booked into Vista County Jail on bulk cash smuggling charges; the currency and vehicle were seized by the U.S. Border Patrol, the agent reported.