Authorities discovered more than seven tons of marijuana stashed inside a truck passing through a cargo checkpoint in south San Diego Thursday – a huge haul valued at $7.1 million.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said officers were working at the Otay Mesa cargo facility when, at around 9:40 a.m., a man driving a Freightliner pulling a trailer entered the port of entry for routine inspection.
The Freightliner was alleged carrying a shipment of furniture. However, when a CBP officer referred the driver to another area for a more in-depth inspection, much more was discovered inside the trailer.
Officers ran the truck through the checkpoint’s imaging system, which revealed anomalies with the shipment. Officers opened the trailer and began sifting through the cargo. At that point, they discovered many boxes scattered throughout the trailer.
When officers opened the boxes, they discovered large, wrapped packages that tested positive for marijuana.
Package after package, CBP officers removed a total of 587 packages of pot from the trailer. Combined, the marijuana weighed 14,219 pounds.
The driver — a 47-year-old Mexican citizen — was turned over to agents with Homeland Security Investigations for further processing. The drugs, tractor and trailer were seized by officers.
Otay Mesa cargo port director Rosa Hernandez said this large-scale seizure demonstrates the commitment of her officers to “keeping our community safe from dangerous contraband.”
The Otay Mesa cargo facility is located less than 23 miles south of downtown San Diego.