One car had suitcases stuffed with marijuana. Another hid 17 bundles of cocaine inside a speaker box in the trunk. Both were seized only minutes apart.
Two drivers were under arrest Thursday after Border Patrol agents or canines at the I-5 checkpoint south of the San Onofre plant sniffed the contraband Wednesday morning and netted more than $600,000 in illegal drugs.
The first incident occurred about 9:30 a.m.
Agents at the San Clemente border checkpoint in the Camp Pendleton area referred a 23-year-old U.S. citizen for a secondary inspection, authorities said.
The man told agents in secondary that he was en route to the Long Beach airport to pick up a friend, said Border Patrol spokeswoman Mary Beth Caston.
Agents received permission to search the man’s Ford Fusion and noticed the smell of marijuana when they opened the trunk, she said. The trunk was filled with suitcases and the man admitted they contained marijuana. Agents opened the suitcases and found 63 bundles.
The brick-sized bundles weighed 213.85 pounds and have an estimated street value of $128,310, Caston said. Agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration took custody of the suspect and marijuana.
Minutes later, agents patrolling I-5 observed a 2000 Honda Civic driven by a 20-year-old U.S. citizen and initiated a vehicle stop near the checkpoint. A K-9 sniff of the vehicle resulted in a positive alert, Caston said.
The driver and vehicle were taken to the San Clemente Station for further inspection and a more detailed search revealed 17 bundles of cocaine hidden inside a speaker box in the trunk.
The cocaine bundles weighed 40.90 pounds and have an estimated street value of $531,700. Agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations took custody of the man and narcotics, Caston said.
Names of the arrested drivers were not immediately available.