CALEXICO – Smugglers arrested in two large currency and narcotics busts at the Calexico downtown port of entry last week.
On Monday, March 10, around 3:20 PM, a man driving a Chevrolet Cobalt, heading south into Mexico was stopped at the Calexico port. A dog alerted to the vehicle’s rear seat, where an officer found several packages of U.S. currency. The money was stowed away within the rear seat headrest area and the rear bumper of the vehicle.
In total, border patrol reported finding 41 packages containing $499,730 in unreported currency. Manuel Eduardo Velazquez-Comparan, 19 of Perris, was advised of his rights and arrested. According to a complaint filed against Velazquez-Comparan, he “stated he was going to be paid $1,500 to smuggle the United States currency into Mexico.
Velazquez-Comparan was booked into Imperial County jail and the currency was seized.
On Thursday, at the same port of entry around 11:45 a.m., a 2005 Ford Taurus was stopped at the border station. A detector dog alerted to the vehicle’s undercarriage. After inspecting the vehicle, border patrol discovered 17 wrapped packages of methamphetamine which were stashed in custom compartments in the gas tank and wheel well. The narcotics had a combined weight of about 22 pounds.
Sonia Salazar, 39, of Kerman reportedly admitted to having knowledge of an unlawful substance in her vehicle. She thought she was transporting cocaine, but denied knowing the exact location of the drugs or exactly what she was carrying. She also was reported to have admitted to several other instances of smuggling.
Salazar stated that she made $5,000 during smuggling expedition and about $3,000 on each of her previous trips. Once arrested, she was put into the custody of Homeland Security Investigations agents for further processing. Salazar was later booked into Imperial County jail.
Photo: courtesy of US Customs and Border Protection
IVPRESS: Twenty pounds of meth seized at port