Mom with 5 kids arrested at border — with 231 pounds of drugs hidden in car, officials say


A mother shuttling five of her children across the border in a minivan was arrested Monday after authorities uncovered 231 pounds of drugs hidden throughout the vehicle, officials said.

The 34-year-old woman was driving a Honda Odyssey from Mexico through the Otay Mesa Port of Entry just after midnight when she and her five kids were stopped for further examination, said U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The CBP officer found some initial discrepancies and sent the minivan through a large imaging system, which found anomalies in the spare tire well, quarter panels, doors and gas tank, officials said. Officers eventually retrieved 206 wrapped packages — a combination of methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin. The drugs were worth just over $1 million in street value, CBP said.


The woman, whose name was not released, was booked into the county’s women’s jail in Santee, indicating possible state charges in the case rather than federal. The children were handed over to a family member. CBP officials did not disclose the ages of the children or provide additional details.

“CBP has seen many forms of drug smuggling through the years,” said Pete Flores, director of field operations for CBP in San Diego. “The hardest ones are when adults include their children in attempted smuggling schemes.”

Davis writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.