Ian Patrick, FISM News
Officials with the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have seized about 1,200 small bags of methamphetamine during an inspection of a truck carrying crates of onions across the border, according to a release from CBP.
Officials searched a tractor-trailer “with a shipment manifested as onions,” and a more thorough examination with canine units revealed “1,197 packages of methamphetamine mixed with the onions in sacks.” The report says that the meth was disguised as onions themselves being “shaped into small globes with a white covering.”
“CBP officers extracted approximately 1,336 pounds of methamphetamine worth an estimated street value of about $2.9 million,” the report said. The drugs are currently stored in the Otay Mesa commercial facility in San Diego, California.
Sidney Aki, CBP Director of Field Operations in San Diego commented that the effort “was not only a clever attempt to try and smuggle in narcotics, one I haven’t seen before, but also time consuming to wrap narcotics into these small packages, designed to look like onions.”
“While we have certainly seen narcotics in produce before, it’s unusual for us to see this level of detail in the concealment,” Aki added.
The driver of the vehicle, who is a citizen of Mexico, was arrested by CBP and given over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations. The tractor and the trailer were also seized alongside the narcotics.
Meanwhile, CBP has been dealing with record numbers of southern border encounters and other drug smuggling efforts. The agency reported a total of 153,941 encounters at the southern border alone in January of this year, which is not the highest monthly total seen in the Biden administration but is still higher than any monthly total in the last two years of the Trump administration.
CBP also reported a total of 64,919 pounds of methamphetamine seized at the southern border in January of this year. Meth has been the most seized drug by pound at the border so far this fiscal year, which began in October of 2021. The other most seized drugs by pound include khat (catha edulis) at 62,396 pounds and marijuana at 55,540 pounds.