El Paso, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at the El Paso port of entry seized 809 pounds of marijuana Monday. The drugs were concealed in a commercial bus that arrived at the port from Mexico.
The seizure was made shortly before 4:00 a.m. when a 1996 Dina Marcopolo passenger bus arrived at the Bridge of the Americas port of entry. CBP officers initiated an examination of the bus during which CBP drug sniffing dog "Chip" alerted to the vehicle. CBP officers x-rayed the bus and spotted an anomaly in the ceiling-mounted air conditioning unit. CBP officers drilled into the ceiling unit producing a green substance that tested positive for marijuana. CBP officers removed a total of 714 marijuana-filled bundles from the bus.
"This CBP drug seizure struck a blow against a smuggling organization on multiple levels," said William Molaski, CBP El Paso port director. "Not only did the organization lose a sizeable drug load but also the use of a significant asset in the form of a commercial bus."
CBP officers took custody of the driver, a 48-year-old Mexican male from Tonala, Jalisco, Mexico. He was turned over to the El Paso Police Department for local prosecution. The vehicle and marijuana were also turned over to the police department. There were no passengers on the bus.
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.