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Man tried to smuggle liquid meth across the border in his gas tank, officials said

Man tried to smuggle liquid meth across the border in his gas tank, officials said
Agents staff a checkpoint on the road to the Murrieta Border Patrol facility in this 2014 photo. A man was arrested at a checkpoint in Salton City this week. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Border Patrol agents arrested a man in Salton City after they found liquid methamphetamine in his gas tank, authorities said.

Rene Elizalde, a 22-year-old U.S. citizen, was driving on Highway 86 shortly before 9 a.m. Sunday when he approached Border Patrol authorities at an inspection booth, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said.

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A K-9 alerted agents to the vehicle, a large Ford F-250 pickup, Border Patrol said.

After the dog targeted the passenger side of the vehicle, agents inspected the interior of the truck’s gas tanks using a fiber-scope camera.

“In one of the gas tanks, agents saw a liquid that did not look like gasoline,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement. A test revealed the tank contained methamphetamine.

Authorities determined Elizalde was carrying 75 pounds of liquid methamphetamine, which would sell on the street for nearly $200,000, according to Border Patrol officials.

The man, his truck and the drugs were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration, which is investigating.

“Liquid methamphetamine is an extremely dangerous form of the narcotic and thankfully our agents were able to prevent it from advancing further into the United States,” chief patrol agent Gloria Chavez said. “Our communities are much safer with these drugs off our streets.”

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