SAN DIEGO (NewsNation) — As officials battle an influx of drug smuggling, the San Diego – Mexico border is a large entry point for many of these drugs spreading across the nation.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized more than $9 million worth of drugs, including more than 515 packages of fentanyl, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine from Jan. 4 through Jan. 22.
The drugs were concealed in the seats and roofs of travelers’ vehicles.
At the Calexico Port of Entry, more than $5 million worth of methamphetamine was hidden inside pallets full of radishes. Officers discovered and extracted a total of 1,590 packages concealed within the shipment of radishes — weighing 4,563 pounds, CBP reported.
While these incidents have led to the curtailment of drugs flooding U.S. streets, the majority are not caught. Once drugs are brought across the border, they can go anywhere in the U.S.
“If you’re coming up from Mexico, and let’s say California, if I can get the I-5, I can go from Interstate San Diego, all the way to Blaine, Washington. All I gotta do is make a right somewhere on the interstate, you know, 10, or 15, or 10, or 20, and that can go over the eastern seaboard to Interstate 95, right for Florida all the way down to Maine, which means I can go anywhere in the country,” said Victor Manjarrez, a former Border Patrol sector chief.
Meanwhile, William Estuardo Lemus-Lara, a Guatemalan drug kingpin, who for years was smuggling drugs from South America by sea, was extradited to the U.S. and sentenced to 210 months in federal prison by a San Diego judge last month.