Heroin worth an estimated $66,120 was confiscated Monday at the Interstate 15 U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint just south of Temecula.
The heroin — packaged in five bundles — was allegedly found hidden inside the engine of a 2001 Ford Escort, said San Diego Border Patrol Sector spokesperson Mary Beth Caston, in a news release.
At about 10 a.m. Monday, agents referred the driver of the Ford, a 21-year-old male U.S. citizen, to secondary inspection when they "became suspicious of (his) nervous demeanor," Caston said.
A Border Patrol K-9 team conducted a cursory inspection of the car, resulting in an alert, she said.
"Agents searched the vehicle and discovered five bundles of heroin inside a compartment disguised to resemble a valve cover," Caston said.
The heroin weighed 5.51 pounds with an estimated street value of $66,120, she said.
The suspected smuggler — whose name was not provided — and narcotics were taken into custody and turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration for further investigation, she said.
The vehicle was seized by the U.S. Border Patrol, she said.