CBP Officers Make First Significant Marijuana Seizure at New Anzalduas Border Crossing
Hidalgo/Mission, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Anzalduas and Hidalgo international bridges seized approximately 248 pounds of marijuana in two separate and unrelated enforcement actions. The combined estimated street value of the marijuana is close to $198,000.
On December 23, CBP officers working at the Anzalduas/Reynosa International Bridge came in contact with a northbound 1998 Chevrolet Tahoe towing a utility flatbed trailer. The driver of the Tahoe was identified as David Rodriguez, a U.S. citizen, age 20 from Mission, Texas. Rodriguez was accompanied by his 19-year-old wife and two minor children, ages one and two.
At primary, officers noted discrepancies to the trailer's undercarriage. After the initial primary inspection, a CBP officer referred the vehicle, flatbed trailer and occupants to secondary for further inspection. In secondary, "Jango," a narcotics detector dog, alerted officers to narcotic odors emanating from the utility trailer. A non-intrusive imaging system scan indicated anomalies under the trailer floor. While conducting an intensive examination of the utility trailer, CBP officers found 104 marijuana packages hidden under the trailer's floor.
The marijuana packages weighed approximately 123 pounds with an estimated street value of close to $98,000. CBP officers arrested Rodriguez on federal drug charges. After his arrest, Rodriguez was transferred to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agents who continue to investigate this failed smuggling attempt. Rodriguez's spouse and children were released.
On the same day, CBP officers at the Hidalgo/Reynosa International Bridge came in contact with a northbound 1996 Ford Explorer. The driver of the Explorer was identified as Diana C. Ramirez, a Mexican citizen, age 21 from Houston, Texas. Ramirez was accompanied by a 13-year-old female passenger.
A CBP officer referred the driver, passenger and Explorer to secondary for further inspection. In secondary, officers noted discrepancies to the Explorer's four tires. While in secondary, "Laika," a narcotics detector dog, alerted officers to narcotic odors emanating from the Explorer's four tires. A non-intrusive imaging system scan revealed anomalies inside the Explorer's four tires. CBP officers dismantled the tires and all tires were found to conceal metal containers full of marijuana. In total, CBP officers removed 24 marijuana packages that were found hidden inside the metal containers. The marijuana packages weighed approximately 125 pounds with an estimated street value of close to $100,000. CBP officers arrested Ramirez on federal drug charges.
After her arrest, Ramirez was transferred to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agents who continue to investigate this failed smuggling attempt. The 13-year-old minor was released to the custody of the local office of the State of Texas Child Protective Services. Pending appearance before a U.S. Magistrate, both Rodriguez and Ramirez remain incarcerated.
Hector A. Mancha, CBP port director, Hidalgo/Pharr and Anzalduas said, "The Anzalduas crossing became operational less than 10 days ago and this is the first significant seizure at the Anzalduas International Bridge." Mancha further said, "I commend our frontline officers and K-9 teams for their great enforcement work during the holiday season and for intercepting these two drug loads."
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.