Border Patrol agents arrested a man with coke at the I-5 checkpoint in San Clemente. Photo courtesy of U.S. Border Patrol

A Mexican national was arrested Saturday at the Interstate 5 San Clemente checkpoint with nearly $500,000 worth of cocaine inside his car, the U.S. Border Patrol announced Tuesday.

The man, 47, claimed he had parked his 1999 Volvo in Mexico earlier in the day and as he drove north from the U.S. border, bundles began falling from the car’s interior roof.

The man was stopped the checkpoint at around 2 a.m. Saturday and a secondary inspection with a K-9 unit resulted in an alert. After telling agents his story, the man walked to the car’s trunk, lifted the spare-tire compartment cover and showed agents several bundles, according to Border Patrol.

A thorough search of the vehicle revealed a total of 14 bundles — five on top of the spare tires, two on a back-seat floor at and seven behind the rear-quarter panels — totaling 36.82 pounds with an estimated value of $478,660.

The man was arrested for the possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute and turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

His car was seized by the Border Patrol.

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