Authorities at a border checkpoint in San Diego seized nearly four tons of marijuana buried in a shipment of jalapeño peppers, officials said.
A photo of the shipment tweeted Saturday by the acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection showed several large, green packages apparently containing marijuana surrounded by red chili peppers.
Officials at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry said the pot was stored in 314 packages aboard a tractor-trailer loaded with jalapeños.
The truck driven by a 37-year-old Mexican citizen arrived at the port at 6:15 p.m. Thursday, Customs and Border Protection officials said in a statement.
The shipment weighing more than 7,000 pounds had an estimated value of $2.3 million, they said.
The seizure came days after more than 10,000 pounds of marijuana were discovered in a shipment of plastic auto parts at the same port of entry.
The seizures come nearly three years after California voters legalized cannabis — and as the state’s black market has continued to thrive.
That market is booming, in part, because of the initiative’s design, according to the New York Times. While many of the state’s larger cities allow dispensaries, The Times found that 80 percent of California’s 500 municipalities do not.
In Los Angeles, which allows retail sales, the black market is also booming. In a investigation published last month, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer said authorities there have shut down more than 151 illegal shops and are prosecuting more than 1,000 defendants.
A local cannabis executive, Cameron Wald, attributed the boom to hefty taxes and permitting fees, telling that illegal marijuana can sell for 40 percent less than legal products.