7,000 Pounds of marijuana hidden among watermelon, bell peppers

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Authorities found 5,440 pounds of marijuana in a shipment of watermelon. By Jennifer Thomas Authorities found 5,440 pounds of marijuana in a shipment of watermelon. By Jennifer Thomas

NOGALES, Ariz. -- U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Mariposa Port of Entry in Nogales, Ariz., seized more than 7,000 pounds of marijuana concealed in shipments of watermelon and bell peppers.

On Monday, a 36-year-old Mexican man from Culiacan, Sinaloa, driving a tractor trailer applied for admission to enter the United States through a Mariposa Cargo Facility lane.

An inspection revealed anomalies within the cargo of watermelon and a narcotics detection canine positively alerted to the trailer, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The cargo was unloaded and 244 bales of marijuana were discovered in the shipment. The marijuana weighed 5,440 pounds and had an estimated street value of $2.72 million.

The suspect was taken into custody.

On March 23, an officer working at the facility observed anomalies within a tractor-trailer. A narcotics detection canine alerted to the cargo area and 64 bales of marijuana were found in the shipment of bell peppers.

The marijuana weighed nearly 1,600 pounds and had an estimated street value of $700,000.

The driver, a 33-year-old Mexican man from Mocorito, Sinaloa, was taken into custody and turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations.

The marijuana had a combined weight of 7,040 pounds with an estimated value of $3.52 million.