All in a Days Work, CBP Officers at the El Paso Port Encounter 16 Immigration Violations and 8 Drug Seizes Worth $2 Million
El Paso, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at the El Paso port of entry made eight drug busts Wednesday. CBP officers seized 1,057 pounds of marijuana in seven seizures and 33.8 pounds of cocaine in one additional bust. The estimated street value of the seized contraband is just under $2 million.
"It is important that the public understand the level of enforcement activity occurring at our border ports on a daily basis and the impact this activity has on port operations," said William Molaski, CBP El Paso port director. "People sometimes wonder why they have to wait in line and when we can show them that the drug smuggling threat is high as indicated by the Wednesday activity they can better understand why the process sometimes takes time."
Along with the eight drug busts, CBP officers at area ports on Wednesday also identified 16 immigration violations, apprehended eight fugitives, made four agriculture seizures and identified four export violations.
The largest of the seven marijuana busts was made at approximately 6:50 p.m. when a 1995 Kenworth tractor hauling a trailer hauling a load of ceramic floor tile entered the Bridge of the Americas (BOTA) cargo facility from Mexico. CBP officers selected the vehicle for a gamma-ray exam during which they identified several anomalies in the appearance of the shipment. The vehicle was moved to the inspection dock where CBP drug sniffing dog "Irwin" searched the trailer and alerted to the pallets containing tile boxes. CBP officers inspected the boxes and found bundles wrapped in brown masking tape in boxes co-mingled with boxes containing tile. CBP officers removed a total of 502 marijuana-filled bundles. The seized marijuana weighed 555.17 pounds. No arrests were made and the investigation is continuing.
The cocaine bust was made at approximately 1:06 p.m. at the Paso Del Norte international crossing. The seizure was made when a 2007 Ford F-150 pick-up was selected for inspection and CBP drug sniffing dog "Bianca" alerted to the rear area of the vehicle. CBP officers conducted a gamma-ray exam on the vehicle and identified several anomalies in the appearance of the floor area behind the seats. CBP officers discovered 19 packages concealed in a false floor compartment of the pick-up. The contents of the bundles tested positive for cocaine. The weight of the seizure was 33.8 pounds.
CBP Field Operations is responsible for securing our borders at the ports of entry. U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers' primary mission is anti-terrorism; they screen all people, vehicles, and goods entering the United States, while facilitating the flow of legitimate trade and travel into and out of the United States. Their mission also includes carrying out traditional border-related responsibilities, including narcotics interdiction, enforcing immigration law, protecting the nation's food supply and agriculture industry from pests and diseases, and enforcing trade laws.
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.