Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Traffickers attempted hiding drugs in nopales and lemons....but failed.

Chivis Martinez Borderland Beat TY Gus Abasto

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the port of entry in San Diego intercepted more than $61 million worth of narcotics, including 668 pounds of methamphetamine hidden in a cactus (nopales) shipment, and almost 15,000 pounds of marijuana in what was supposed to be a shipment of limes.

Grace Kennedy, La Fe

On August 7, at about 8 a.m., a tractor-trailer arrived at the Otay Mesa cargo facility with a shipment manifested as cactus. According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), officers referred the shipment to be unloaded at the dock for an intensive inspection. A CBP canine team screened the shipment, and the dog alerted to a pallet of cactus. CBP officers searched inside the crates of cactus pads (which are often used in nopales, or prickly pear, dishes and drinks) and found packages, wrapped with green tape, hidden inside among the pads.

668 pounds of methamphetamine were found hidden in a shipment of nopales.
In total, officers found 590 packages, containing about 668 pounds of methamphetamine. The narcotics have an estimated street value of over $1.5 million.
“International drug trafficking organizations will use whatever means they can think of to try and move their illicit shipments into the U.S.,” said Pete Flores, Director of Field Operations for CBP in San Diego. “CBP officers dedicate their careers to protecting our country by securing the border.  For them, these unusual seizures are all in a day’s work.”

Later that same day, again at the Otay Mesa cargo crossing, at approximately 6:30 p.m., CBP officers sent another tractor-trailer to the dock for further inspection after discovering anomalies during a scan by an X-ray imaging system.

CBP officers opened the boxes and found large, tape-wrapped packages inside the many boxes manifested as limes.

Officers found 622 large, tape-wrapped packages inside the boxes, containing 14,880 pounds of marijuana. The narcotics have an estimated street value of almost $60 million, according to the CBP.

Meanwhile, CBP officers at the Pharr International Bridge cargo facility in Texas, hit it out of the park again with the seizure of another huge load of alleged methamphetamine worth $19,841,000 discovered in a commercial produce shipment arriving from Mexico.

“This is another significant strike our officers have made on the methamphetamine smuggling industry,” said Port Director Carlos Rodriguez, Port of Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas. “Large seizures like this one underscore the severity of the drug threat and show that our officers remain fiercely dedicated to upholding our border security mission.”

CBP said on Aug. 7, a 29-year-old man, a Mexican citizen from Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico arrived at the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge cargo facility driving a tractor/trailer containing a commercial shipment of produce.

A secondary inspection of the conveyance resulted in CBP officers discovering 521 packages of alleged methamphetamine weighing 992 pounds (450 kg) concealed within the floor of the trailer.

CBP OFO seized the narcotics, the tractor/trailer, and arrested the driver.


  1. Isn’t this CJNG drug bust? Pretty sure they work with CDG there

  2. estoz traficker si ke me zalieron

  3. It almost makes me a bit hesitant, i like nopales, pero not con crystal

  4. before people start saying "BuT WeEd Is LeGaL" remember, there are still many places where it is still illegal and theres a demand, and no not everyone wants to spend more on pricier and higher quality california weed when this cheaper weed is available.

  5. Why do you not Name the Farmers names ?
    Reading about Drug Busts are great
    But I never hear the name of the Ranch or the name of the ranch owners that owm where the lemons or catus was raised Why ??

    Can you please BB do follow ups on these busts like what happens to the drivers and what why where are the Ranchs Ranch owners that own the produce
    Why dosent Mexico stop these trucks before the USA does ?
    Paper work must show where the truck was loaded and where or who it was going
    Please If you can give us the rest of the story !

    PS We all appreciate your hard work providing us with storys and all you hard dedicated work Thank You BB


    1. First of all, there is a separation of responsibilities to protect everybody involved, so nobody will know more than they need to. The whole point is to use legitimate shipments as cover and so the source of the legitimate goods is supposed to be inscrutable or at the least have plausible deniability. Same goes for the driver and the recipient of the cargo in the US.

      As for why Mexico doesn't stop goods that leave the country, you'll find that customs in their respective countries are only tasked with searching shipments entering their country - not the other way around.

      The legal system of both nations have an emphasis on burden of proof that I assume makes it near impossible to prosecute somebody that was transporting tons of legitimate goods with a small amount of professionally hidden contraband inside - luckily for all of us, as in any other case we could just be snatched off the street and accused of any alleged crime with no evidence. I assume truck drivers are not even supposed to be able to access their loads, I guess they use seals and such, so do you see how this would not work? Although I would also like to know some numbers on this, but the process of trying to compile information like that from a bunch of different courts and agencies gives me a headache.

    2. The farmers haven't been convicted, a "bust" is not a conviction.

  6. Lot of busts lately

  7. Thanks for explaining!

    Be Safe, and alway's Peace


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