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In just 24 hours, 763 pounds of drugs are seized at 2 border crossings

March 19, 2010 |  9:22 pm

Customs officers intercepted 12 alleged drug smugglers in a 24-hour period at the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa border crossings and seized 763 pounds of marijuana, methamphetamine and cocaine worth an estimated $1.16 million, authorities said Friday.

The spate of arrests took place between 6 a.m. Thursday and 6 a.m Friday.

In three cases, authorities said the alleged smugglers were U.S. citizens who tried to walk across the San Ysidro border crossing with marijuana strapped to their bodies.

About 7 a.m. Thursday, customs officers working with a drug-sniffing dog arrested a 19-year-old man -- a U.S. citizen who lives in Tijuana -- after he allegedly was found to be carrying four pounds of marijuana duct-taped to his sides and back.

Less than 15 minutes later, customs officials said another officer working with a dog discovered another U.S. citizen -- a 30-year-old woman who also lives in Tijuana -- with two packages of marijuana strapped to her body under a girdle.

Just after midnight Friday, officers stopped a 16-year-old girl from Chula Vista, discovering five packages of marijuana hidden in her shoes, stuffed in her bra and strapped around her stomach.

Each suspect was arrested and booked into a local jail or juvenile hall, according to a news release issued by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials.

-- Tony Barboza

Photo: A 19-year-old U.S. citizen was arrested after allegedly trying to walk across the border from Mexico with four pounds of marijuana strapped to his body.

Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection