MURRIETA – A Mexican national allegedly caught smuggling 60 pounds of methamphetamine and heroin as he headed into Riverside County via Interstate 215 was being held today in lieu of $500,000 bail.
Marcos Raul Aviles Contreras, 53, was arrested on suspicion of possession of drugs for sale, transportation of heroin for sale and transportation of meth for sale.
He was apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol on northbound I-215, near Murrieta Hot Springs Road, about 1:30 p.m. Friday.
According to Customs & Border Protection Agent Mark Endicott, Contreras was stopped in his Dodge Journey after agents became suspicious that he might be involved in illegal activity.
The suspect was questioned, culminating in a search of his SUV by a drug-sniffing canine, which alerted to the presence of narcotics, Endicott said.
Agents uncovered a hidden compartment carved into the vehicle’s firewall, where “57 bundles of meth and two bundles of heroin” – weighing 54 pounds and 6 pounds, respectively, were seized, he alleged.
The total street value of the haul was estimated to be $196,830, Endicott said.
The vehicle was impounded, and Contreras was booked into the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta.
His arrest came a day after Border Patrol agents snared another Mexican national in the same area for allegedly transporting 35 pounds of meth in an SUV.