Two San Jose men were arrested Thursday when they attempted to smuggle about 4.5 pounds of heroin through the San Ysidro Port of Entry from Mexico, authorities said.
U.S. Customs officials said Peter Garza, 27, and Joe Manuel Bettencourt, 20, tried to smuggle the drug concealed in the false bottom of a flight bag.
A Customs inspector became suspicious when the two men pulled into the inspection lane at 9 p.m. in a 1992 Pontiac. He directed the car to secondary inspection, where a drug-sniffing dog detected the heroin in the flight bag, which was in the car's trunk, officials said. The wholesale value of the drug was estimated at $640,000.
Garza and Bettencourt were charged with drug smuggling and are being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center. If convicted, each could be sentenced to 10 years to life in prison and a $4-million fine.