CALEXICO -- Authorities seized an estimated $5 million worth of marijuana
and arrested two men Tuesday in one of the biggest drug seizures to date,
said U.S. Border Patrol agents on Wednesday.

"This is one of the largest contraband seizures in the history of the El
Centro sector," said U.S. Border Patrol Agent and spokesman Dionicio
Delgado Jr.

The El Centro sector includes the Imperial and Coachella valleys.

Big haul: The 6,000-pound haul, ferried by a pick-up truck and a sport
utility vehicle, was stopped at about 3 p.m. Tuesday just west of Calexico,
said border agents. Inside the trucks, agents found more marijuana than had
been seen by agents in years.

"It was packed from the bottom of the bed to the roof, and it was even in
the front seat. There was only room for the drivers," said agent Katrina
Thomas.

The names of the suspected drug smugglers, who remain in Imperial County
Jail, were not released because of an ongoing investigation by the Drug
Enforcement Administration.

On the run: Agents spotted two motorists illegally crossing the
international border near Roy's Road and Highway 98, west of Calexico and
Mexicali, Mexico, and stopped the first motorist, who was traveling in a
F-250 pick-up truck, with a tire deflation device. The second motorist,
driving a Chevrolet Suburban, was arrested after he stopped and attempted
to outrun agents.

Since the border patrol's reporting year began in October, agents have
seized 6,600 pounds of marijuana, including Tuesday's seizure, worth an
estimated $5.5 million, according to U.S. Border Patrol records.

Last year, agents seized nearly 16,000 pounds worth about $12.6 million. In
1999, agents captured a little more than 6,000 pounds worth about $5.3 million.


Newshawk: Sledhead
Pubdate: Thu, 22 Nov 2001
Source: Desert Sun (CA)
Copyright: 2001 The Desert Sun
Contact: letters@palmspri.gannett.com
Website: http://www.thedesertsun.com/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/1112
Author: Kenny Klein