CBP Officers at Area El Paso Ports of Entry Seized More Than 1,300 Pounds of marijuana Over a Four Day Period
El Paso, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at El Paso area ports of entry made 15 marijuana seizures and one cocaine seizure for the period of Thursday, May 12, 2011 to Sunday, May 15, 2011. CBP officers confiscated an approximate weight of 1,359.58 pounds of marijuana and 7.45 pounds of cocaine in the busts.
Photo Credit:Photo Courtesy U.S. Customs and Border Protection
The largest marijuana seizure of the period was made at the Ysleta international crossing on Thursday at approximately 9:08 p.m. when a 23-year-old female from Cuauhtémoc, Chihuahua, Mexico driving a 2002 Chrysler Cirrus arrived from Mexico. CBP officers selected the vehicle for an extensive exam. The vehicle was taken to a separate inspection area where CBP drug sniffing dog "Bek" alerted to the rear gas tank area. CBP officers discovered 214 tape wrapped bundles in the gas tank, rear seats, and non-factory compartments in the floor and roof areas. The contents of the bundles tested positive for marijuana with an approximate weight of 186.87 pounds.
"This seizure shows the extent that smugglers will go to in using every possible area of a vehicle to conceal contraband," said Hector Mancha, CBP El Paso Port Director. "Despite exceptionally heavy traffic over the weekend, CBP officers remained focused on their mission and were able to stop this sizeable drug load from entering the U.S."
CBP officers at the port arrested the driver, Ana Cristina Cardona Jacobo. She was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents to face federal charges including importation of a controlled substance and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. She remains in custody at the El Paso County jail and is being held without bond.
In addition to the drug seizures, CBP officers recorded 69 immigration violations at area ports over the period including 35 intended immigrants and 11 impostors. Intended immigrants will use a legally issued border-crossing card (laser visa) to live or work in the U.S., which is not authorized. They also lose their documents and are generally returned to Mexico. Impostors generally will use a legitimate entry document assigned to another person and present it as their own. Violators generally lose their documents, can be prosecuted and go to jail and/or are returned to Mexico. CBP officers also recorded 23 cases of people making false claims to U.S. citizenship, people attempting to enter with counterfeit or altered documents, and stopping those who previously entered the country illegally. Most of these people will be prosecuted and go to jail.
CBP officers working at area ports took four people into custody who were being sought on outstanding warrants and lookouts to include a missing person, traffic violations and delivery of cocaine.
CBP officers working at ports of entry in El Paso, West Texas and New Mexico made three seizures of agricultural items. Violators paid $1,350 in penalties in association with the violations. Prohibited food products seized included apples, avocados and pork bologna.
CBP Field Operations is responsible for securing our borders at the ports of entry. U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers' primary mission is anti-terrorism; they screen all people, vehicles, and goods entering the United States, while facilitating the flow of legitimate trade and travel into and out of the United States. Their mission also includes carrying out traditional border-related responsibilities, including narcotics interdiction, enforcing immigration law, protecting the nation's food supply and agriculture industry from pests and diseases, and enforcing trade laws.
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.