CBP Officers Arrest 74-Year-Old New Mexico Man in Marijuana Smuggling Attempt
El Paso, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at the El Paso port of entry arrested a 74-year-old male attempting to smuggle 172.7 pounds of marijuana Saturday. CBP officers at El Paso area ports confiscated a total of 1,127.74 pounds of marijuana and 18.10 pounds of amphetamines in eight drug busts over the weekend.
"This seizure activity demonstrates our officer's dedication to keep dangerous drugs off our streets," said Ana Hinojosa, U.S. Customs and Border Protection director of Field Operations in El Paso. "Their hard work and attention to detail proved worthy in the arrest of a senior citizen attempting to blend in with the thousands of people we process every day."
The seizure was made Saturday at approximately 12:34 p.m. at the Bridge of the Americas international crossing when a 1989 Chevrolet Scottsdale 1500 pick-up was selected for inspection and CBP drug sniffing dog "Frankie" alerted to the gas tank of the vehicle. CBP officers discovered two large compressed bales concealed in metal containers in the gas tank. The contents of the bales tested positive for marijuana.
CBP officers at the port arrested the driver, Alex Garcia of Albuquerque, New Mexico. He 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. He is currently detained without bond at the El Paso County Jail.
The largest marijuana bust was made Sunday at the Santa Teresa port of entry at approximately 12:25 p.m. when a 30-year-old man from Casas Grandes, Chihuahua, Mexico driving a 2000 Chevrolet Silverado arrived from Mexico. He told officers he had nothing to declare and that he was going to make some purchases in El Paso. CBP officers selected the vehicle for a gamma-ray exam and identified several anomalies in the appearance of the area of the cab floor. The truck was taken to a separate inspection area where CBP drug sniffing dog "Murphy" alerted and a non-factory compartment was discovered in the cab floor area. CBP officers removed a total of 172 bundles. The contents of the bundles tested positive for marijuana with an approximate weight of 436.04 pounds.
"I am very proud of the great work my frontline officers do everyday, protecting this Nation. They are devotedly aware of their responsibility to remain ever vigilant in protecting the homeland," said Grace Gomez, Acting port director for CBP in Santa Teresa.
CBP officers at the port arrested the driver, Carlos Fabian Perez Carreon. He was turned over to HSI special agents to face federal charges including importation of a controlled substance and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance.
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.