Originally published February 17, 2011 at 12:16 p.m., updated February 17, 2011 at 2:17 p.m.
Two suspected drug dealers were behind bars today after authorities allegedly caught them loading hundreds of bales of marijuana into a rental moving truck outside an Imperial Beach home.
Undercover San Diego police narcotics detectives acting on a tip put the house in the 500 block of Seventh Street under surveillance on Wednesday evening, SDPD Lt. Andra Brown said.
About 10 p.m., the officers arrested Eddie Martinez, 34, and Juan Carlos Rodriguez, 36, as the pair were allegedly moving large packages of cannabis from the residence into a U-Haul vehicle parked in front.
During a search of the truck and home, police seized 1,153 pounds of marijuana, just under a pound of methamphetamine and 8.5 grams of cocaine, Brown said. The drugs' street values, respectively, were estimated at $692,000, $45,000 and $850.
"This is a big deal," the lieutenant told reporters outside downtown SDPD headquarters this morning. "Over half a ton of marijuana is a lot of marijuana. The 449 grams of methamphetamine ... (is) significant as well. I think we got it right at the start, so there was obviously going to be a potential for a huge distribution."
Martinez and Rodriguez were booked on five counts each of possession of illegal drugs for sale. Both were being held on $25,000 bail pending arraignment, scheduled for Tuesday.
It was unclear why San Diego police were handling a narcotics investigation in Imperial Beach, which is part of the jurisdiction of the county Sheriff's Department. It may simply have been because SDPD detectives first got the information about the alleged drug activities at the Seventh Street house, Brown said.