$2.5M Worth of Meth Found Hidden Within Watermelon Shipment

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Otay Mesa Commercial Facility in California recently found more than 1,100 pounds of methamphetamine hidden within a shipment of watermelons.

"We don't frequently see seizures of this size, but they are certainly a risk in the cargo environment," Anne Maricich, acting CBP director of field operations in San Diego, said in a statement. "Stopping over 1,000 pounds of methamphetamine is a critical act for the security and health of our nation."

At about 6:45 p.m. on Tuesday, May 18, CBP officers stopped a truck carrying a shipment of watermelons. During an initial inspection, the officers referred the driver and shipment for an intensive examination.

A CBP canine team screened the tractor-trailer and the dogs indicated something was in the shipment of watermelons. Officers searched the cargo and discovered 193 wrapped plastic containers and packages of methamphetamine hidden within the watermelon crates.

The drugs were worth an estimated street value of about $2.5 million.

The Mexican driver, a man whose name was not released, was arrested for an alleged narcotic smuggling attempt and was turned over to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations. He is facing federal charges and has been transported to the Metropolitan Correctional Center in San Diego. The tractor, trailer and narcotics were seized by CBP officers.

This is the second significant seizure of methamphetamine packages discovered within the same week.

On Saturday, May 15, CBP officers at the same facility in Otay Mesa seized almost 2,500 pounds of methamphetamine concealed in a shipment of medical supplies.

The truck was targeted for a more intense inspection and X-ray screening of its shipment.

After anomalies were found within the cargo shipments, the truck was moved to an inspection dock where CBP officers with dogs screened the boxes of cargo.

Officers found 120 packages of narcotics within the medical supplies. Approximately 2,425 pounds of methamphetamine with an estimated $5.5 million. The driver, a Mexican man whose name was not released, was arrested and turned over to ICE and faces federal charges.

"Most of what CBP officers see every day is legitimate travelers and legitimate cargo that needs to speed its way into the U.S. as a critical part of our economy." Anne Maricich said in a statement at the time. "But CBP officers know that we must remain vigilant; transnational criminal organizations will attempt any avenue they can think of to try and smuggle their illicit drugs into the U.S."

Newsweek reached out to CBP for comment on these two seizures.

CBP Truck
A US Border Patrol vehicle sits along a new section of the steel bollard-style border wall along the US-Mexico border between Tijuana, (L) and San Diego, during a tour with the US Customs and Border Protection on May 10, 2021 in San Diego County, California. CBP officers have seized two large amounts of methamphetamine hidden among shipments of watermelons and medical supplies last week. PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images