More than 1,000 lbs. of pot seized in Pine Valley

PINE VALLEY, Calif. - U.S. Border Patrol officers caught a man trying to sneak a half-ton haul of marijuana through an East County freeway checkpoint in a big rig over the weekend, the agency reported Monday.

The 55-year-old Salvadoran citizen pulled the Freightliner tractor-trailer into the Interstate 8 inspection station in the Pine Valley area about 11 p.m. Sunday, according to USBP public affairs.

Due to the driver's nervous demeanor, agents decided to search the vehicle with a service dog, which alerted them to suspected contraband inside. Behind a false wall, they found 47 bundles of marijuana weighing a total of 1,016 pounds. The estimated street value of the cannabis was set at $1.52 million.

The suspected smuggler, whose name was withheld, was arrested and turned over to a multi-agency narcotics task force. The Border Patrol seized the marijuana along with the cargo vehicle.

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