U. S. Border Patrol agents Wednesday night seized 800 pounds of marijuana with a street value of $750,000 from illegal immigrants transporting the drug on foot just north of the U.S.-Mexico border.
This is the same area of Imperial Beach where more than 900 pounds of cocaine were intercepted about a month ago, authorities said Thursday.
Five adults and one juvenile, who identified themselves to authorities as Mexican citizens, were arrested about 9 p.m., said Dale W. Cozart, San Diego chief patrol agent.
Agents were still searching for a vehicle that was believed to have been waiting for the cargo and for an unspecified number of others who were accompanying the group, some of whom were armed, Cozart said.
Vehicle Part of Investigation
"There is a vehicle that we were able to identify, and that is part of the ongoing investigation," Cozart said. He declined to give a description.
Border Patrol agents were near Monument Road and Hollister Street when they noticed a group of people carrying "large bags" on a ridgeline about half a mile north of the border, Cozart said.
Border Patrol agents and a helicopter intercepted the group and arrested six males. Nine duffel bags containing 10-kilo bundles of marijuana were found in their possession, Cozart said. The others in the group escaped. No other narcotics were found.
"We believe because of the terrain and our (helicopter) being up, that we took all of the narcotics into custody," Cozart said.
"We did have information that there were individuals traveling with this group that were armed. We did not encounter them," he said.
Similar to Cocaine Seizure
The incident is similar to the seizure of 969 pounds of cocaine from "human mules" in the same area by Border Patrol and U. S. Customs agents May 8. The cocaine had a street value of $60 million.
Authorities are investigating whether there is a connection between the two cases.
Those arrested Wednesday on suspicion of transporting a controlled substance and suspicion of possessing with intent to distribute are:
Alfredo Chavez Martinez, 23; Jose Arturo Ancira Hernandez, 20; Pedro Barraza Rivera, 19; Armando Quintero Acosta, 33; Ricardo Rojas Morales, 32; and a 16-year-old youth.
The last significant marijuana seizure by San Diego Border Patrol agents was Jan. 18, when 954 pounds of marijuana were seized near Boulevard in eastern San Diego County.