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Border Agents Spotted 'Irregularities' in a Shipment of Squash. Then, They Found 11,000 Pounds of Meth Worth $18 Million.

CBP Uncovers 12,000 Pounds of Meth Hidden in Squash Cargo
Source: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

The meth was reportedly hidden in a squash shipment making it's way into the country, authorities said.

May 29 2024, Published 2:03 p.m. ET

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers have seized nearly 12,000 pounds of methamphetamine, valued at more than $18 million, concealed in a shipment of squash, the agency said.

CBP officers working at the Otay Mesa Commercial Facility, an import inspection facility in San Diego, California, recently encountered a commercial tractor-trailer with a manifest indicating it was carrying a shipment of squash.

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The driver, a 44-year-old man with a valid border crossing card, was referred along with the truck for further examination.

Non-intrusive scanning technology revealed "irregularities" in the cargo and CBP officers brought in a narcotics-detection dog, which alerted to the presence of drugs in the truck.

Upon further inspection, CBP officers uncovered 1,419 packages of methamphetamine concealed within the squash shipment, weighing a total of 11,469 pounds.

CBP said that quantity of meth carries an estimated street value of $18,350,400.

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CBP said the seizure came as a result of Operation Apollo, which began in Southern California in October 2023 in an effort to stop fentanyl from entering the U.S. The program expanded to Arizona in April.

"Our officers’ commitment to duty, excellence, and the safety of our nation is truly commendable. These results serve as an outstanding display of effectiveness in thwarting the illegal importation of narcotics,” Rosa E. Hernandez, Otay Mesa Area Port Director, said in a statement. “Their exceptional efforts truly embody the highest standards of service."

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The truck and its contents were seized, and the driver was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations.

TMX contributed to this report.

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