Border Patrol agents arrested a man smuggling over $500,000 worth of cocaine in the car that he was travelling in with his wife and son.
The arrest took place on Thursday in San Clemente, California, when agents observed a suspicious vehicle traveling past them at around 85 MPH, weaving between lanes and around drivers, according to ABC News affiliate KGTV.
The vehicle stopped at a shopping mall, where the driver walked about quickly with his wife, before being confronted by agents who asked for consent to search their vehicle. The couple agreed and agents uncovered a duffel bag containing 20 brick-shaped packages of cocaine, according to a statement issued by the U.S. Border Patrol.
Agents also discovered a package of cocaine in a shopping bag near the infant’s car seat. The 21 packages of cocaine weighed over 51lbs combined, and authorities estimate it has a street value of $512,500.
As agents questioned the male driver of the vehicle, his wife took their infant son to a nearby mall, saying she needed to use the restroom. The pair did not return and were subsequently located around a quarter of a mile from the site of the arrest.
The driver, identified only as a 34-year-old U.S. citizen was arrested and turned over, along with the seized cocaine, to the Orange Country Drug Enforcement Administration office. The mother and infant were released.
Though valued at a significant amount of money, the haul is relatively minor compared to some made in recent years. In March 2019, authorities in New York seized 3,200 pounds of cocaine in a shipping container, which had an estimated street value of $77 million.
In June of the same year, authorities in Philadelphia seized 16.5 tons of cocaine from a cargo ship, which had a street value of $1 billion.
In total, authorities seized 388,970 pounds of cocaine at border crossings or in domestic field operations between 2012 – 2018, according to the most recent data available from the Congressional Research Service.