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Crime

Opium paste taped ‘like implants’ to buttocks of suspected US smuggler

US Border Patrol agents discovered dried paste with an estimated street value of US$71,360

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 July, 2018, 2:27am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 July, 2018, 2:41am

A suspected smuggler with opium paste taped to his buttocks “like implants” was arrested last week while driving on a rural highway in Imperial County near the Salton Sea, California, US Customs and Border Protection officials said on Monday.

The 28-year-old US citizen pulled up to a Border Patrol checkpoint on State Route 86 east of Ocotillo Wells on Wednesday, CBP spokesman Jose Enriquez Jnr said.

While the man waited to approach the Border Patrol agent stationed at the checkpoint, a drug-sniffing dog zeroed in on his SUV, prompting agents to direct him to the secondary inspection area, Enriquez said.

While searching the car and the driver, agents discovered more than 2.2 pounds (1kg) of opium paste taped to his buttocks.

“It looked like implants,” Enriquez said. “It was under his pants and above his underwear.”

Opium paste is the dried paste secreted by the opium poppy plant and contains up to 12 per cent morphine, which is frequently used to produce heroin, Enriquez said.

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The estimated street value of the drug found hidden on the man was US$71,360.

Border Patrol agents turned him, the SUV and the opium paste over to the US Drug Enforcement Administration.