EL PASO, TEXAS—U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations officers working at the El Paso port of entry seized 591 pounds of marijuana on May 1. The drugs were hidden within plaster figurines, columns, and other items imported from Mexico. The estimated street value of the seized contraband is $473,000.
"Smugglers will sometimes try to conceal drugs in everyday items that are routinely imported," said Hector Mancha, CBP El Paso Port Director. "The vigilance of CBP officers working at the El Paso port of entry identified and stopped this unusual drug load."
The seizure was made on Wednesday, May 1, when a 1994 Volvo tractor towing a trailer loaded with wrapped and palletized plaster items arrived from Mexico. CBP officers initiated an examination of the vehicle including scanning it with an x-ray system. The scan identified a number of anomalies in the shipment. CBP drug sniffing dog "Latte" searched the truck and alerted to the pallets. CBP broke open the plaster items and recovered 384 marijuana-filled bundles. No arrests were made and the investigation is continuing.
The 591 pound drug bust was the largest of five made by CBP officers working at the El Paso port on May 1. They seized 202 pounds of marijuana in four additional seizures.
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.