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August 10, 2021San Diego, CA, United StatesNarcotics

HSI San Diego seizes record $9 million illegal drug shipment

SAN DIEGO – Special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) seized a commercial truck containing more than 5,500 pounds of methamphetamine and fentanyl Aug. 5. The seizure is believed to be the largest seizure along the southwestern border with an estimated street value of more than $9 million.

“Over the last several years, we’ve seen many drug overdoses and drug-related deaths throughout this country,” said HSI San Diego Special Agent in Charge Cardell T. Morant. “HSI and its law enforcement partners undoubtedly saved lives by preventing this massive drug shipment from entering our communities. While this drug seizure is significant, we know that these transnational criminal organizations will continue to illegally smuggle their illicit drugs across our border. HSI and its law enforcement partners will remain vigilant in our mission to prevent these drugs from crossing the border and entering our communities.”

HSI San Diego special agents tracked the truck from the Otay Mesa Cargo Point of Entry before the driver – Carlos Gerardo Symonds Saavedra, a Mexican citizen – parked the vehicle in a private commercial parking lot. The agents arrested the driver and seized the truck.

Upon inspection of the truck’s trailer, the agents discovered 400 packages, which contained approximately 2,507 kilograms of methamphetamine and 52 kilograms of fentanyl comingled with commercial plastic parts.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California will prosecute the case against the truck driver.

“This is a significant accomplishment by our law enforcement partners,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. “Due to stellar work by law enforcement agents, the government stopped more than 5,500 pounds of deadly drugs from entering our country, furthering our fight against addiction and overdose deaths.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Border Patrol, the San Diego and Imperial Valley High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force and the Drug Enforcement Agency assisted in the investigation.

“This amount of fentanyl and methamphetamine is enough to ruin countless lives and fund transnational criminal organizations,” said Pete Flores, CBP director of field operations in San Diego. “I’m proud of our officers’ efforts to intercept another significant smuggling attempt.”

HSI is a directorate of ICE and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel and finance move. HSI’s workforce consists of more than 10,400 employees and 7,100 special agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.