San Clemente, California - U.S. Border Patrol agents at the Interstate 5 checkpoint arrested a man over the weekend who had more than 35 pounds of cocaine inside his car.

The driver, a 47-year-old Mexican national, arrived at the checkpoint at approximately 2 a.m., Saturday.  Agents referred him for a secondary inspection and a canine sniff of his 1999 Volvo resulted in an alert.

During routine questioning, the man told agents that his car was parked in Mexico earlier in the day.  He got in and drove across the border into the U.S.  As he drove north, he said bundles began falling from the car’s interior roof.  After telling agents his story, the Mexican national man walked to his car trunk, lifted the spare-tire compartment cover, and showed agents several bundles.

Agents conducted a thorough search of the vehicle and located a total of 14 bundles.  Five were on top of the spare tire, two were on a back-seat floor mat, and seven were behind the rear-quarter panels.  The packages tested positive for cocaine and weighed 36.82 pounds.  The cocaine has an estimated street value of $478,660.

Agents arrested the man for the possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute.  He was turned over to officials from the Drug Enforcement Administration.  The vehicle was seized by the U.S. Border Patrol.

To prevent the illicit smuggling of humans, drugs, and other contraband, the U.S. Border Patrol maintains a high level of vigilance on corridors of egress away from our Nation’s borders.  To report suspicious activity to the U.S. Border Patrol, contact San Diego Sector at (619) 498-9900.