Customs and Border Protection photo shows how the marijuana was hidden.

Customs and Border Protection officers discovered 12,000 pounds of marijuana hidden within a shipment of papayas hauled by a big rig at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry.

The marijuana had a street value of $27 million.

The incident occurred late Monday afternoon when a 50-year-old Mexican man entered the port with a shipment manifested as fresh papayas.

A CBP officer referred the driver to the port’s X-ray imaging system, which showed an anomaly. A drug-sniffing dog then indicated the presence of drugs. Officers seized 873 packages of marijuana mixed with the papayas.

“CBP officers are vigilant to stop those who intend to do harm in our communities and at the border, as they attempt to enter the U.S.,” said Anne Maricich, acting director of field operations in San Diego. “Their enforcement efforts and experience are put to the test regularly.”

The driver was arrested and the truck and its contents seized.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.