'Bumper' crop of crystal meth found stashed in car near border
A 24-year-old woman faces federal drug charges for allegedly attempting to transport a "bumper" crop of crystal methamphetamine across the U.S.-Mexico border.
The woman hid 12 pounds of crystal meth hidden in the rear bumper of a 2004 Volkswagen Jetta, said Scott Simon, a U.S. Border Patrol agent in San Diego.
She was parked in her car about five miles south of the Interstate 5 Border Patrol checkpoint near San Clemente last Wednesday morning when agents encountered her.
Simon said the agents became suspicious because the woman, an American citizen whose identity has not been released, was nervous. A Border Patrol K-9 team performed a routine inspection of the car, which led to a “positive alert” for drugs at the rear of the car.
Agents searched the vehicle and tore open the bumper, where they found cellophane-wrapped bundles of crystal meth worth about $214,200 on the street, Simon said.
The alleged smuggler was arrested and turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the car was seized by the Border Patrol.
“It was a standard operation for the most part,” he said. “The smuggling corridor between San Diego and Los Angeles is a high-traffic area.”
Separately, U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Indio station arrested a man in late April for allegedly trying to smuggle more than $100,000 of the drug.
The 37-year-old man had hidden just over three pounds of crystal meth in a compartment of a Pontiac Grand Prix, officials said.
In August, an 18-year-old from National City was busted for allegedly transporting 14 pounds of crystal meth in his car, also on Interstate 5 near San Clemente.
And in April, Border Patrol agents arrested a 55-year-old man, also near San Clemente, for allegedly smuggling about 15 pounds of cocaine and three pounds of crystal meth in his Dodge Dakota pickup.
-- Hector Becerra
Photo: Crystal meth found in bumper of car. Credit: U.S. Border Patrol