El Paso, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the El Paso, Texas port of entry made two marijuana seizures Wednesday evening. The drugs were strapped to the body of two separate female border crossers.
"The primary CBP officers on duty were thorough and focused and were able to identify these individuals as needing additional scrutiny," said CBP El Paso Port Director Hector Mancha. "These types of narcotic concealments illustrate why CBP officers have to be constantly vigilant in conducting their inspections."
The seizures were made in the pedestrian inspection area of the Bridge of the Americas international crossing at approximately 6:25 p.m. when two females applied for admission simultaneously from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. A CBP officer at the primary inspection booth noticed inconsistencies in the statements from both females. Both were escorted to a secondary interview area for an intensive inspection where a pat down inspection was conducted. CBP officers found two taped wrapped packages on one female and four taped wrapped packages on the other to their abdominal area concealed underneath their clothing. The contents of the bundles tested positive for marijuana with an approximate weight of 5.86 pounds.
CBP officers arrested a 20-year-old Maria De Jesus Ayala and 19-year-old Laura Guadalupe Venegas, both United States citizens of El Paso, Texas. Both were turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement - Homeland Security Investigations special agents after their cases were accepted for federal prosecution.
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 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.