El Paso, Texas — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at the El Paso port of entry seized 35.5 pounds of heroin Saturday. The estimated street value of the seized contraband is $1,136,000.
“This is an enormous seizure,” said CBP El Paso Port Director Hector Mancha. “CBP in El Paso, West Texas and New Mexico seized 60 pounds in all 2012 and seven pounds in 2011 so taking 35 pounds in a single incident is huge.”
The seizure was made just before 4 p.m. Saturday when a 2000 GMC Jimmy entered the United States from Mexico at the Ysleta international crossing. CBP officers were performing an enforcement sweep of vehicles waiting in line just south of the primary inspection booths when CBP drug sniffing dog “Wizard” alerted to the vehicle. CBP officers initiated a secondary exam of the vehicle and noted discrepancies in the appearance of the SUV. CBP officers scanned the vehicle with a Z-Portal x-ray system and spotted anomalies in the fuel tank area. CBP officers continued their exam and located a compartment above the fuel tank containing numerous cellophane wrapped bundles. The contents of the bundles tested positive for heroin.
CBP officer arrested the driver of the car. He is identified as 21-year-old Jesus Antonio Gonzalez of Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. He was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agents to face charges associated with the failed smuggling attempt.
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.