El Paso, Texas —U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations officers and U.S. Border Patrol agents working at the El Paso port of entry seized 29.95 pounds of cocaine Tuesday. The estimated street value of the seized contraband is $958,400.
“CBP remains vigilant in its homeland security mission,” said Hector Mancha, CBP El Paso Port Director. “Every day CBP personnel are finding drugs, apprehending wanted people, and stopping illegal immigration at area ports.”
The seizure was made at approximately 9 a.m. when a 2004 Ford Explorer Sport Trac entered the U.S. from Mexico. CBP officers, canine teams and Border Patrols agents were performing an enforcement sweep of vehicles in the queue when CBP drug sniffing dog “Doky” alerted to the vehicle. CBP officers searched the vehicle and noted several discrepancies.
The vehicle was scanned with a Z-Portal x-ray system which showed images consistent with hidden contraband in the bed of the truck. CBP officers drilled the suspect area and recovered a white powder which tested positive for the properties of cocaine. CBP officers continued their exam and removed 12 cocaine filled bundles from the compartment.
CBP officers arrested the driver of the vehicle, 19-year-old Erick Marquez of El Paso, Texas. He was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agents to face charges associated with the failed drug smuggling attempt.
In addition to the cocaine load area CBP officers also seized 246 pounds of marijuana in three busts, made one fugitive apprehension, recovered a stolen vehicle and recorded one export violation.
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.