EL PASO, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operation officers working at the El Paso port of entry seized 17.7 pounds of heroin Monday. The estimated street value of the seized contraband is $566,400.
“A substantial amount of heroin did not make it to its intended destination,” said Hector Mancha, CBP El Paso Port Director. “While homeland security is our primary mission, keeping dangerous drugs off the streets of our communities makes for a safer nation as well.”
The seizure was made at approximately 5 a.m. Monday at the Paso Del Norte international crossing after a 1996 Audi A4 Quattro entered the port from Mexico. A CBP officer at the primary inspection noted that the driver was nervous during the entry interview. CBP drug sniffing dog “Chip” alerted to the vehicle while it was at the primary inspection booth. CBP officers scanned the vehicle with the Z-Portal x-ray system and spotted a suspicious area in the front floor area of the car. CBP officers continued their exam and located 10 tape-wrapped bundles hidden in a floor compartment. The brown, tar-like contents of the bundles tested positive for heroin.
CBP officers arrested the driver of the truck, 21-year-old Herbert Garza of El Paso, Texas. He was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations special agents to face charges associated with the failed smuggling attempt.
While anti-terrorism is the primary mission of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the inspection process at the ports of entry associated with this mission results in impressive numbers of enforcement actions in all categories.