CBP Officers Arrest a Sexual Offender and Seize Over 800 Pounds of Marijuana Valued at $657,000 at the El Paso Port of Entry
El Paso, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at the El Paso port of entry made five marijuana seizures yesterday. CBP officers confiscated a total of 821.26 pounds of marijuana. One smuggler was also a wanted sex offender.
"Our officers did an outstanding job in intercepting and confirming the identity of this criminal," said Bill Molaski, U.S. Customs and Border Protection El Paso port director. "In addition to the fugitive apprehension, CBP officers were thorough and focused and were able to make multiple seizures."
The largest of the five seizures was made at 9:30 p.m. when CBP officers at the Paso Del Norte international crossing in the El Paso port of entry confiscated 656.15 pounds of marijuana from a 27-year-old male from Los Lunas, New Mexico. The seizure was made when a 2004 Ford F-150 pick-up arrived at the primary inspection booth from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The driver told the officer that he had nothing to declare. The vehicle was taken to a separate inspection area for an extensive inspection where CBP drug sniffing dog "Cesar" alerted to the floor. CBP officers discovered 286 bundles concealed in cab floor, truck bed and in the gas tank. The contents of the bundles tested positive for marijuana. In addition to the failed drug smuggling attempt CBP officers performed a query on the violator and found that there was a National Crime Information Center (NCIC) warrant for a sexual offense.
CBP officers at the port arrested the driver, Rito Gonzalez. He was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement 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.
In addition to the drug seizures, CBP officers recorded 10 immigration violations at area ports yesterday including six intended immigrants and four imposters. 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. Imposters 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 working at the port made a total of five fugitive apprehensions Monday.
CBP 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.