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57 Pounds of Cocaine Found in Car With 3 Children Inside at Imperial Valley Checkpoint: Border Patrol

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A U.S. citizen traveling with his three stepchildren was arrested at a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint near Salton City after agents found more than 50 pounds of cocaine in his car, federal authorities said Monday.

Packages of cocaine were found in this vehicle at an Imperial Valley Border Patrol station on Feb. 3, 2017. (Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

Packages of cocaine were found in this vehicle at an Imperial Valley Border Patrol station on Feb. 3, 2017. (Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

The unidentified 21-year-old man was stopped about 4:30 p.m. Feb. 3 at a checkpoint on Highway 86, near the southwest shore of the Salton Sea, according to a news release from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

A K-9 with the agency alerted to the 2010 black Toyota Camry, and the car was sent on to a secondary inspection, where agents found hidden compartments in the vehicle’s floor.

Twenty-four wrapped packages of cocaine weighing nearly 57 pounds were found in the compartments. The drugs had a street value of about $678,000, the Border Patrol said.

The driver was arrested on suspicion of smuggling cocaine, and the drugs were turned over to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

The stepchildren — ages 10, 7 and 6 — were put into the custody of Imperial County’s child protective services agency.

Agents with the Border Patrol’s Imperial Valley-based El Centro Sector have seized more than 320 pounds in cocaine since Oct. 1, 2016, when federal fiscal year 2017 began, the release stated.