A Mexican national was caught smuggling multiple duffel bags filled with 154 pounds of methamphetamine into California on Monday, authorities 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 stopped the vehicle, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said.

A K-9 unit requested to search the vehicle, but the driver refused, authorities said. The K-9 unit conducted an exterior sniff of the vehicle and alerted officers 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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methamphetamine seized

Agents seized 154 pounds of methamphetamine with an estimated street value of $278,000. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection )

A sample was taken from the packages 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 filled with packets of meth

Five canvas bags were found inside the vehicle. Each bag contained packets of methamphetamine, authorities said. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection )

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

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zipper closed canvas bags

The driver, identified as a Mexican national, had a border crossing card, authorities said. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection )

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

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

By Sam