U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized 17 high-powered rifle parts and 64 boxes of ammunition in a bust at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry near San Diego County Tuesday when a man allegedly tried to smuggle the good across the U.S.-Mexico border.
The CBP said the smuggling attempt was thwarted at around 2:40 p.m., as officers conducted routine southbound inspections of travelers heading from San Diego into Mexico.
When a 52-year-old San Diego man driving a 2011 Toyota Sienna minivan approached, officers referred the driver and vehicle for further examination.
Once CBP officers searched the minivan, they discovered a trove of assault rifle parts and ammunition allegedly bound for Mexico.
Among the loot, officers found high-powered rifle parts and seven high-capacity magazines concealed in the quarter panels of the vehicle. Eight additional parts were also found hidden under the seats, officials said.
According to CBP officials, there was a motorized wheelchair inside the minivan, which officers also thoroughly inspected. Stashed inside the wheelchair’s battery compartment, officers found 2,360 rounds of ammunition.
In all, 64 boxes of ammo were seized from the vehicle, officials said.
The driver – a lawful permanent resident of the United States who lives in San Diego – was arrested on suspicion of smuggling the contraband.
He was turned over to agents with Homeland Security Investigations for further processing. An immigration hold has been placed on the suspect to initiate removal from the U.S. once his criminal proceedings come to a close, the CBP said.
The suspect’s name was not released. The minivan, weapons and ammunition was collected by officers as evidence.