EL PASO, TEXAS—U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the El Paso port of entry seized 485 pounds of marijuana in one seizure Friday. It was the largest of 11 drug seizures area CBP officers made this weekend. Those busts netted 1,038 pounds of marijuana and small quantities of heroin and cocaine.
"CBP officers remain vigilant knowing that the drug smuggling threat is ever present," said CBP El Paso Port Director Hector Mancha. "Homeland security is our primary mission however the inspections associated with that task help CBP officers identify other violations as well."
The largest seizure of the weekend occurred Friday during the early morning hours at the Paso Del Norte international crossing at the El Paso port of entry. A 2005 Ford Lobo pick-up truck occupied by a male driver, a female passenger and two children entered the facility from Mexico. CBP officers selected the vehicle for a secondary examination including an x-ray scan. The results of the scan showed anomalies in the appearance of the vehicle.
CBP drug sniffing dog "Max" also searched the truck and alerted to the vehicle. CBP officers continued their exam and located 294 marijuana-filled bundles in the floor of the vehicle. They also located three metal canisters in the fuel tank which were loaded with tightly compressed marijuana. CBP officers recovered a total of 485 pounds of marijuana from the truck. The drugs have an estimated street value of $388,000.
CBP officers took custody of the male driver, 29-year-old Ezequiel Isai Bolado Almanzan of Chihuahua City, Mexico. He was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement HSI special agents in connection with the failed smuggling attempt. The female occupant and her two young children were returned to Mexico.
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.