U.S. Customs authorities announced Friday that they have seized $314 million in narcotics in the last three months along the Mexican border in San Diego and Imperial counties.
Customs inspector Bobbie Cassidy said the seizures were all in the agency’s San Diego District ports, which include the entrances to the United States at San Ysidro, Otay Mesa, Tecate, Calexico and Andrade.
Customs figures show that inspectors confiscated 11,900 pounds of marijuana in 166 seizures in the period, up from 3,347 pounds confiscated in 41 seizures the year before.
Inspectors confiscated 8,672 pounds of cocaine in 11 seizures in the three months, contrasted with one-tenth of a pound in two seizures a year earlier.
The increase in seizures is attributed to cooperation among law enforcement agencies, the addition of canine units and increased expertise and improved tactics of Customs inspectors, according to San Diego Acting District Director Gurdit Dhillon.
“Inspectors are doing an outstanding job as well as the canine officers with their handlers,” Dhillon said.
He said cooperation among the various agencies is a significant factor in the increased seizures.
The biggest bust during the past year occurred Sept. 4, when a propane tanker filled with 7,700 pounds of cocaine was seized at the Otay Mesa crossing, Cassidy said.
That seizure came after Customs canine officers alerted inspectors to the narcotics, she said.
Last year, Customs had 26 canine units, she said. It now has 41.