A soccer player with a professional club in Tijuana was arrested at the border last Wednesday after allegedly attempting to smuggle nearly 48 pounds of methamphetamine concealed in his vehicle.
Daniel Gomez-Flores (Daniel Gomez), a member of Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente, arrived at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry on April 5 just before 5 a.m. and told Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers he was going to work.
According to court documents, a CBP officer inspected Gomez’s 2005 Chrysler Sebring and noticed the spare tire in the trunk of his car had an unusual weight and had hard spots. Gomez’s vehicle was referred for secondary inspection and x-ray images revealed anomalies inside the tire.
CBP officers cut open the tire and extracted 23 individually-wrapped packages weighing just over 28 pounds. The substance inside the packages field-tested positive for methamphetamine.
Gomez, a U.S. citizen, told investigators with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in a post-inspection interview that he had traded cars with someone else about three months ago but recently traded back due to mechanical problems and has been driving it for about a month.
He also told investigators that he was coming into the country to have breakfast at a Denny’s in National City and was planning to return to Tijuana for soccer practice at 8 a.m.
Two days later on April 7, a DHS investigator who interviewed Gomez was notified by CBP that 11 additional packages were found concealed in the quarter panels of the car. The 11 packages weighed a total of 19.62 pounds, bringing the total weight of all packages discovered to 47.75 pounds.
Gomez was arrested and charged with importation of a controlled substance. He is being held in custody as a flight risk.