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Woman found smuggled in wall of van at border

March 7, 2012 |  9:02 am

Woman found smuggled in wall of van
Border patrol officers at the California-Mexico border seized 1,100 pounds of drugs over the weekend and stopped 12 cases of human smuggling.

In one case, a woman was found hidden in the wall of a van, U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokeswoman Angelica De Cima said.

San Ysidro port of entry officers encountered a 43-year-old man from Vista on Friday around 11:30 p.m. who was driving a 1993 Dodge Caravan, according to De Cima.

During the inspection of the van, border officers noticed that the driver's side quarter panel felt and sounded unusual when tapped, and referred the car and driver to another inspection area, she said.

De Cima said when the plastic panel was uncovered, a Mexican woman was found hiding inside. The woman was paroled into the U.S. to serve as a witness to the incident before she is returned to Mexico.

The Vista man was booked into the Metropolitan Correctional Center and will face criminal charges, authorities said.

From Friday to Sunday, agents intercepted more than 1,100 pounds of marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin valued at $5.9 million.

-- Fox 5 San Diego

Photo: Border patrol agents found a woman smuggled in the wall of a van. Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection