CBP Officers Arrest Albuquerque Man After Finding Big Drug Load
El Paso, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at El Paso area ports of entry recorded a wide variety of enforcement actions during a busy weekend. CBP officers seized drugs, identified numerous immigration violations, stopped agriculture smuggling attempts, made fugitive apprehensions, and recorded other violations while inspecting inbound and outbound traffic at area border crossings.
"CBP officers remain vigilant and on guard to address the many threats that present themselves at area border crossings," said Patricia Aveitia, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Assistant Director of Field Operation in El Paso. "Every minute of the day CBP is working hard to keep El Paso and this nation safe."
CBP officers working at area ports made 10 marijuana seizures totaling 981 pounds of the drug. The largest seizure of the weekend occurred just before midnight on Friday when CBP officers working at the Bridge of the Americas international crossing discovered 248 pounds of marijuana. The drugs were hidden inside metal containers within the fuel tank of a 2000 Chevrolet Suburban that entered the port form Mexico. CBP officers selected the vehicle for an intensive exam during which drug sniffing dog "Chip" alerted to the rear of the vehicle. A closer exam revealed the drugs hidden in the fuel tank.
CBP officers arrested the driver of the vehicle, 23-year-old Chad Lee McKinney of Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) 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 at the El Paso County Jail.
During the previous three days area CBP officers uncovered 54 immigration violations. Intended immigrants made up a large group of the violators. A total of 19 were identified through thorough document exams. In these cases individuals will use a legally issued border-crossing card (laser visa) to live or work in the U.S., which is not authorized. Violators generally lose their documents and are returned to Mexico.
CBP officers this weekend also identified seven imposters while performing inspections at area ports. Imposters generally will use a legitimate entry document assigned to another person and present it as their own. CBP officers also recorded seven cases of people making false claims to U.S. citizenship, people attempting to enter with counterfeit or altered documents, and visa overstay violations.
CBP officers and Border Patrol agents performing southbound exams this weekend also apprehended 21 people who were attempting to leave the United States after having previously entered the U.S. without proper inspection. They also identified three vehicle export violations generating $2,600 in penalties.
"The primary goal of the outbound exam is to identify and stop weapons, ammunition and currency from being smuggled out of the U.S. however this weekend activity clearly shows that these inspections also turn up other violators as well," said Aveitia.
CBP officers working at area ports made took seven people into custody who were being sought on outstanding warrants and lookouts.
CBP agriculture specialists working at area ports made seven seizures of prohibited food and agricultural items this weekend, resulting in $1,925 in fines being assessed. Prohibited items seized this weekend included pork, chorizo, bologna, fresh chicken, oranges and tangerines.
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 (CBP) 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.