CBP Officers Arrest Mother of Four with Marijuana Load at El Paso Port
El Paso, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at the El Paso port of entry made nine marijuana seizures, one cocaine and one heroin seizure this weekend including one bust where a 28-year-old mother, who was accompanied by her four children, was arrested attempting to smuggle marijuana in her vehicle.
"Smuggling organizations will use every imaginable concealment method to try to get narcotics through our international ports of entry," Hector Mancha, port director for CBP in El Paso. "To most people, this was just another woman crossing the port of entry with her children; however to the well trained CBP officer, it was a smuggling attempt."
The seizure was made at the Bridge of the Americas international crossing on Sunday at approximately 2:45 p.m. when a 2003 Jeep Liberty arrived at the port from Mexico. A CBP officer at the primary inspection selected the vehicle for further examination and referred it to secondary. CBP drug sniffing dog "Sandy" searched the vehicle and alerted to the rear area of the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to a separate inspection area where an extensive inspection of the vehicle was conducted. CBP officers discovered 94 packages concealed in non-factory compartments in the rear quarter panels and rear cargo area of the vehicle. The contents of the bundles tested positive for marijuana with an approximate weight of 145.70 pounds.
CBP officers at the port detained the driver, 28-year-old Laura Rivas, of Albuquerque, New Mexico. She was turned over to ICE-HSI special agents after the case was accepted for federal prosecution. The children were turned over to Child Protective Services (CPS).
In the cocaine seizure, CBP officers at the Paso Del Norte international crossing in the El Paso port of entry confiscated 34.65 pounds of the drug. The seizure was made Saturday at approximately 12:17 p.m. when a 32-year-old male from Queretaro, Mexico driving a 2007 Oldsmobile Up Lander arrived from Mexico and told officers he had nothing to declare. CBP officers selected the vehicle for inspection. CBP drug sniffing dog "Bianca" searched the vehicle and alerted to the gas tank rear area. The vehicle was taken to a separate inspection area where an extensive exam of the vehicle was conducted. CBP officers discovered 30 vacuum sealed packages concealed in the gas tank. The contents of the bundles tested positive for cocaine.
CBP officers at the port detained the driver, Yuri Ernesto Tadeo Martinez Duran. The case was accepted for federal prosecution, and turned over to ICE-HSI special agents for further investigation.
In addition to the drug seizures, CBP officers recorded 60 immigration violations at area ports this weekend including 33 intended immigrants and 17 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 10 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 seven people into custody who were being sought on outstanding warrants and lookouts to include traffic violations, fugitives from justice and a missing person.
CBP officers working at the El Paso port of entry made two seizures of prohibited agricultural items. Violators paid $250 in penalties in association with the violations. Prohibited food products seized were fresh peaches and pomegranates.
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.