updated 10/5/2006 3:13:40 PM ET 2006-10-05T19:13:40

U.S. police arrested an 83-year-old woman on suspicion of entering California from Mexico with 10 pounds of methamphetamine strapped to her body, officials said Thursday.

The woman, who is a U.S. citizen, and two Mexican nationals were arrested in San Ysidro, California, Monday as they drove north from Tijuana, Mexico.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokeswoman Angelica De Cima said officers at a U.S. border crossing stopped their car and found the drugs strapped to the body of the retiree and a 40-year-old Mexican woman.

Both women were passengers in the vehicle driven by a 22-year-old Mexican man.

“It’s very unusual for us to arrest such an elderly smuggler, but it’s not unique,” De Cima told Reuters by telephone. “We are catching more drugs at the port and so the Mexican cartels are using more creative techniques to try and get away with it.”

Key transit point
San Ysidro, located a few miles south of San Diego, is a key transit point used by Mexican drug cartels to smuggle cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine to U.S. markets.

Methamphetamine, a synthetic stimulant, is prepared in so-called “super labs” in Tijuana and shipped north to market in California, where the chemicals used to make it are more strictly controlled.

De Cima said seizures of methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin had jumped by at least 25 percent at the San Ysidro crossing in the last 12 months.

Copyright 2012 Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions.

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