A Mexican national was caught smuggling multiple duffel bags filled with 154 pounds of methamphetamine into California on Monday, officials said.

El Centro Sector Border Patrol agents spotted a beige sedan while patrolling Interstate 10 near Dillon Road in Indio around 5 a.m. and pulled the vehicle over, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said.

A K-9 unit requested to search the vehicle, but the driver refused, officials said. The K-9 unit performed an exterior sniff of the vehicle and alerted agents to check the interior.

Agents then discovered five duffel bags with multiple packages wrapped in cellophane, characteristic of how narcotics are transported, according to the agency.

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A sample from the packages was taken and tested positive for the presence of methamphetamine. The 154 pounds of the substance had an estimated street value of $278,000, according to CBP.

duffel bags full of meth packages

The driver, identified as a Mexican national with a border crossing card, was arrested. Officials said that his entry benefits were also revoked. 

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duffel bags zipped closed

The border agents were on patrol as part of Operation Apollo, a joint regional operation comprised of federal, state and local agencies working to combat the threat from fentanyl and other illicit synthetic narcotics. 

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So far in fiscal year 2024, agents have seized about 43,000 pounds of meth. Throughout fiscal year 2023, about 140,400 pounds of meth were seized.

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