Tuesday, March 10, 2009
A growing number of teens and young men with narcotics taped to their bodies have been caught in recent months trying to cross the border at San Diego-area ports of entry, authorities announced today.
Federal agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection began noticing the upswing last August, said Vincent Bond, a spokesman for the agency.
From August to February, federal agents at the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa ports of entry apprehended 157 teen and adult pedestrians entering the United States from Mexico with illegal drugs hidden under their clothing, compared to just 23 for the same period the previous year, Bond said.
The drugs that were found included 285 pounds of marijuana, 1.2 pounds of heroin, 4.7 pounds of cocaine and more than nine pounds of methamphetamine. Most of the drug seizures involved Mexican males with narcotics taped to their torsos, according to Bond.
The increase was most prevalent in San Ysidro.
"Although strapping narcotics to a traveler's torso is not a new smuggling technique, apprehensions since last August have burgeoned 811 percent at San Ysidro and 316 percent at Otay Mesa compared to the same period the previous year when officers discovered a total of 23 pedestrians entering local ports with concealed narcotics," Bond said.
Almost 75 percent of the male travelers found with drugs under their clothing from last August to February were under the age of 29, while 25 percent were under the age of 18, according to Bond.