Customs and drug-enforcement agents arrested an 18-year-old Yuma, Ariz. man as he tried to enter the United States at the Andrade border crossing with 638 pounds of cocaine, Customs officials announced Wednesday.
In the largest cocaine seizure to date at Andrade, Customs officials estimated the shipment had a street value of $25 million. Andrade is near the Colorado River, 55 miles east of Calexico.
Officers of the Customs Service and the Drug Enforcement Administration arrested Ricardo Encarnacion, a U. S. citizen, on suspicion of importation of a controlled substance and failure to declare the substance.
A Customs inspector stopped Encarnacion at the border Tuesday when he noticed that the floor of the Chevrolet Suburban he was driving appeared higher than normal. Inspectors found 263 cellophane-wrapped packages--containing about a kilogram of cocaine each--under the floor.
Encarnacion could be sentenced to life in prison and fined $4 million if he is convicted under federal statutes, Customs officials said. He was being held in Calexico, where he was to be arraigned by a local magistrate.