EL PASO, TEXAS—U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations officers working at the El Paso port of entry seized 170 pounds of marijuana Monday morning. The drugs were in a vehicle being driven by a 69-year-old Mexican man.
"History has shown us that smugglers come in all age groups and all ethnicities," said Hector Mancha, CBP El Paso Port Director. "CBP officers must remain vigilant knowing that the next traveler they encounter may be the one representing a risk to our nation."
The 170-pound marijuana seizure was made just before 9 a.m. Saturday at the Bridge of the Americas international crossing when a 1995 Ford F-150 pickup entered the port from Mexico. A CBP officer working the primary inspection noted discrepancies in the appearance of the truck and selected the vehicle for a secondary exam. CBP drug sniffing dog "Tonka" searched the truck and alerted to the presence of drugs.
CBP officers scanned the vehicle with an x-ray system and noted anomalies within the fuel tanks of the truck. CBP officers continued their exam and located seven metal boxes inside two fuel tanks filled with highly compressed marijuana. The estimated street value of the seized drugs is $136,000.
CBP officers took custody of the driver, 69-year-old male Trinidad Martinez Arana of Cuahtemoc, Chihuahua, Mexico. He was turned over to and arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement HSI agents in connection with the failed smuggling attempt and booked into the El Paso County jail without bond.
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.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.