EL PASO, TEXAS—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations officers working at the El Paso port of entry seized 1,061 pounds of marijuana in a single seizure Tuesday. A New Mexico woman traveling with her two children was arrested in connection with the smuggling attempt. The estimated street value of the seized contraband is $848,800.
"This is an exceptionally large amount of marijuana to be removed from a single vehicle," said Barry Miller, CBP El Paso acting Port Director. "Smugglers utilized almost every available space in this pickup truck to conceal the drugs."
The seizure occurred Tuesday just after 11:00 p.m. at the Ysleta international crossing at the El Paso port of entry when a 1998 Dodge Ram pickup arrived from Mexico. CBP officers initiated an exam and then selected the vehicle for a secondary exam. CBP drug sniffing dog "Johan" searched the truck and alerted to the presence of drugs. CBP officers pulled back a portion of a quarter panel and spotted a bundle. A full inspection of the vehicle resulted in the discovery of drugs in the panels, gas tank, floor and spare tire of the truck. CBP officers recovered 518 marijuana-filled weighing 1,061 pounds from the vehicle.
CBP officers took custody of the driver, 32-year-old Palma Lyon of Socorro, New Mexico. She was turned over to and arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement HSI agents in connection with the failed smuggling attempt. She is currently detained at the El Paso County jail with no bond. The children were turned over to a relative.
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.