A mother was arrested last week after she was found driving her two children near Murrieta with $82,000 worth of methamphetamine in the car, border officials said Monday.
The 31-year-old U.S. citizen was stopped by border agents along the 15 Freeway at about 2:50 a.m. Dec. 13, and a K-9 was sent sniffing around her SUV, according to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection news release.
The dog alerted agents to the area underneath the car’s passenger seat, where they found 17 cellophane-wrapped packages of meth, CBP said.
Authorities said the 43 pounds of meth have a street value of about $82,000.
The woman was arrested and turned over to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office, which will be investigating the case further.
The children were released to the custody of their father and the vehicle was seized by Border Patrol, according to the news release.
“Drug smugglers use children as a diversion,” CBP Agent Douglas Harrison said in a written statement. “I am proud of our agents’ dedication. They diligently safeguard children from being used as decoys to benefit transnational criminal organizations.”
CBP officials have not identified the woman, citing privacy laws.
The case remains under investigation and no further details were available.
On the same day the woman was taken into custody, agents arrested a man after finding more than 65 pounds of cocaine hidden inside the truck he was driving on the 15 Freeway near Temecula just before 9 a.m.,according to CBP.