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 made a 12.7 pound cocaine seizure Thursday morning. The estimated street value of the seized contraband is $406,400.
“The layers of enforcement employed by CBP officer and Border Patrol agents led to this seizure,” said CBP El Paso Port Director Beverly Good. “Stopping almost 13 pounds of cocaine is a significant enforcement action.”
The seizure was made at approximately 8 a.m. when CBP officers and Border Patrol agents were conducting an enforcement sweep of vehicles waiting in line at the Paso Del Norte international crossing. A CBP officer was looking at a Dodge Neon waiting in the queue and noted an abnormality in the appearance of the interior of the vehicle. The officer scanned the back seat with a “Buster” density meter and received high readings consistent with hidden contraband.
CBP drug sniffing dog “Bert” searched the vehicle and alerted to the rear seat. CBP officers screened the vehicle with the Z-Portal x-ray system and spotted an anomaly in the seat. CBP officers and Border Patrol agents continued the exam and located five cocaine-filled bundles hidden in the rear seat of the car.
CBP officers arrested the driver, 21-year-old Armando Alejandro Vargara of Canutillo, Texas. He was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations special agents to face charges associated with the failed smuggling attempt.
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.