HIDALGO/BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the Hidalgo and Brownsville International Bridges seized $1,385,000 in cocaine in two separate, unrelated incidents and arrested three persons in connection with the failed smuggling attempts.
The first incident occurred at the Brownsville-Matamoros B&M International Bridge on August 12 around noon after CBP officers encountered a gray 2005 Chevrolet Equinox driven by an 18-year-old male from Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico. The driver presented his Mexican border crossing card and was referred to secondary for further inspection. In secondary, officers discovered nine packages weighing approximately 9.72 kilograms (21.43 lbs.) of alleged cocaine concealed within the vehicle. The cocaine with an estimated street value of $686,000 and the vehicle were seized by CBP.
The second seizure/arrest occurred at the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge later that afternoon when CBP officers came in contact with a maroon 1998 Chevrolet pickup driven by a 19-year-old male United States citizen. He was accompanied by a 25-year-old female Mexican citizen and lawful permanent resident, both from Corsicana, Texas. A CBP officer referred them to secondary for a more thorough examination and with the use of a vehicle non-intrusive imaging system, packages of suspected narcotics were discovered within the vehicle. Officers removed and seized nine packages of alleged cocaine weighing approximately 9.90 kilograms (21.83 lbs.) with an estimated street value of $699,000 and seized the vehicle as well.
CBP arrested the three travelers and subsequently released them to the custody of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents for further investigation.
"Our frontline officers working at the Rio Grande Valley international bridges have made these two compact but significant seizures thus demonstrating their tremendous commitment to help keep dangerous drugs out of our communities," said Gene Garza, director of field operations, Laredo Field Office.
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.