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Agents seize 127 pounds of coke at POE, man arrested

February 13, 2001|By RICHARD MONTENEGRO, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — A Los Angeles man was arrested on suspicion of drug smuggling near here Friday after more than 127 pounds of cocaine were found in a sport-utility vehicle in which he was driving.

Ezekiel De Anza, 56, was arrested around 1:30 p.m. by U.S. Customs Service inspectors at the Calexico East Port of Entry.

After the vehicle in which De Anza was driving — a 2000 sport-utility vehicle — was remanded to secondary inspection, a Customs drug-detecting dog alerted inspectors to the presence of drugs, the Customs Service reported.

Some 50 wrapped packages weighing 127.3 pounds were found in a hidden compartment above the SUV's gas tank.

Customs officials reported a white powdery substance taken from one of the packages tested positive for cocaine.

De Anza was transported to the county jail. Information on whether he was in custody this morning wasn't available.

If convicted of the smuggling count De Anza could face 10 to 40 years in prison.


Friday's seizure was the third significant cocaine seizure by Customs officials in the Calexico area in the last two weeks.

On Feb. 5, inspectors at the downtown Calexico Port of Entry seized 190 pounds of the drug valued at $1.1 million. Customs arrested a Mexican national.

On Feb. 8 inspectors at a Calexico port seized another 50 pounds of cocaine hidden in a '98 SUV, arresting a 21-year-old El Centro man.

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