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October 9, 09

NEWS / SENTRI Participant Arrested for Alleged Marijuana Smuggling

San Ysidro, CA - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers arrested a 20-year-old SENTRI member Wednesday after they found over 160 pounds of marijuana in the vehicle he was driving as he entered the San Ysidro border station from Mexico, officials announced today.

CBP officers encountered the male U.S. citizen at about 2:45 p.m. as he waited for inspection through a designated SENTRI traffic lane driving a silver 2003 Nissan Altima registered in the SENTRI fast-pass program. An officer manning a SENTRI booth referred the San Ysidro resident and his vehicle to the secondary inspection lot for further inspection.

During the secondary examination, officers utilized an x-ray imaging system that highlighted anomalies within the vehicleís tires and bumpers. Officers subsequently discovered 45 packages of marijuana weighing about 161 pounds hidden in the vehicle dash, bumpers and all four tires. Street value of the marijuana is estimated at over $72,000.

The driver was released to special agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and transported to the San Diego county jail to await arraignment on the alleged smuggling attempt. CBP officers seized the narcotics and vehicle and cancelled the driverís SENTRI privileges.

The SENTRI program, or Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection, was implemented at the Otay Mesa passenger port in 1995 and at the San Ysidro facility in 2000. More than 105,000 travelers from both sides of the border are currently registered in the vehicle SENTRI program in the San Diego/Tijuana area.




AnnaMaria Realbuto
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