U.S. border agents in Texas arrested a man and two women on Tuesday after the trio tried sneaking methamphetamine into the country from Mexico, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
A 29-year-old man and two women, 22 and 28, attempted to smuggle the narcotics across the Gateway to the Americas Bridge, which carries cars and walkers over the Rio Grande between Laredo, Texas, and Nuevo Laredo in Mexico, border agents said. All three suspects were U.S. citizens.
But before they could make it into the county, agents referred all three pedestrians for a secondary examination, the agency said. Using a drug-sniffing dog and non-intrusive imaging systems, agents uncovered what they were looking for: Hidden away in their baggage, inside what appeared to be cans of jalapenos and hominy, was 23.63 pounds of meth, agents said.
On the street, that drug haul would sell for around $331,000, the agency said.
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Agents seized the drugs and arrested the three suspects, according to Customs and Border Protection. The case has been passed along to Homeland Security Investigations special agents.
Laredo Port of Entry Director Alberto Flores praised agents for using their instincts and intercepting what he called “a significant load of hard narcotics hidden within canned produce.”
Disguising drugs as jalapenos has been a hot (pun intended) way to smuggle drugs into the U.S. in recent years.
Border agents seized 655 pounds of what appeared to be marijuana in a tractor-trailer carrying jalapenos into Pharr, Texas, in May 2017, according to border agents. The 57 marijuana-filled packages in the truck — worth about $130,953 — were mixed in with the shipment of spicy peppers, the agency said.
On the other side of the country, border agents seized $140,000 in meth concealed in jars of nacho cheese and jalapeno peppers at a Tijuana border crossing in 2011, the Los Angeles Times reports. The driver tried bringing the drugs into the country in his car, but an X-ray revealed his purported “grocery shopping” was more than met the eye.