EL PASO, Texas -- U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operation officers and U.S. Border Patrol agents working at the El Paso port of entry seized 25.4 pounds of heroin Friday. A local woman traveling with her three minor children was arrested. The estimated street value of the seized contraband is $812,800.
“This significant seizure was made during an enforcement sweep of vehicles waiting to enter the U.S. from Mexico,” said Hector Mancha, CBP El Paso Port Director. “Following an initial canine alert CBP used multiple tools to locate this deeply concealed drug load.”
The seizure occurred at approximately noon Friday at the Paso Del Norte international crossing. CBP officers and Border Patrol agents were performing a sweep of vehicles waiting in the queue when CBP drug sniffing dog “Doky” alerted to the undercarriage of a 1999 Chevrolet Silverado. CBP officers initiated an examination and noticed a number of anomalies in the appearance of the vehicle. CBP officers used a “Buster” density meter on the undercarriage and received high readings consistent with hidden contraband when scanning the drive shaft.
CBP officers moved the vehicle to the secondary inspection area and ran the vehicle through the Z-Portal x-ray system. A scan of the car showed issues with the drive shaft. CBP officers continued their exam and removed 11 heroin-filled cylindrical bundles from the modified drive shaft.
CBP officers took custody of the driver, 32-year-old Elizabeth Alvarado of Canutillo, Texas. She was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations special agents to face charges associated with the failed smuggling attempt. Her three minor children were turned over to the custody of 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.