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Drugs entering U.S. along with produce

Feb. 15, 2010 at 7:41 PM

SAN DIEGO, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- U.S. customs officers are finding more than fruits and vegetables entering the country from Mexico -- increasingly, there are drugs among the produce, they say.

To evade border authorities, drug cartels are stashing drugs among the truckloads of bananas, peppers and green beans that cross Mexico's border with California, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported Monday.

Inspectors seized 3,800 pounds of marijuana in a truck loaded with vegetables two weeks ago, the newspaper said.

Drug cartels target truck drivers working for produce companies, often with bribes that are hard to resist, a customs official said.

"They will get a driver who, like everybody else, is between a rock and a hard place, and can't make ends meet or whatever," Jose Garcia, agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in San Diego, said.

"People have to realize that these folks are experts at exploiting human weaknesses."

In 2009 inspectors detected drugs hidden in 43 trucks headed north through the Otay Mesa cargo truck crossing south of San Diego, the nation's sixth-busiest entry point for cargo, the Union Tribune reported.

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