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CBP Officers Make Large Marijuana Bust and Find Meth/PCP in Purse

Release Date: 
April 4, 2011

El Paso, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at the El Paso port of entry made a 388.26 pound marijuana seizure Saturday morning. The drugs were concealed on a passenger bus. They also made a seizure of amphetamine and PCP pills seizure Sunday morning.

"Smuggling organizations will use every imaginable concealment method to try to get the narcotics through our international ports of entry," said CBP El Paso assistant port director Barry Miller.

The marijuana seizure was made at approximately 5:00 a.m. when a 1996 Viggio Mercedes 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 "Rabbi" alerted to the vehicle. CBP officers x-rayed the bus and spotted an anomaly in the rear cargo area. CBP officers drilled into the wall of the false compartment producing a green substance that tested positive for marijuana. CBP officers removed a total of 335 marijuana-filled bundles from the bus.

The driver, 46-year-old Florencio Mendoza Romero, was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents after federal prosecution was accepted. Hernandez Loya is a Mexican National who resides in Durango, Mexico. He remains in the El Paso County jail without bond.

CBP officers working at the Bridge of the Americas international crossing seized 388.26 pounds of marijuana concealed in a compartment in the cargo area of a 1996 Viggio Mercedes passenger bus on Saturday, April 2.

CBP officers working at the Bridge of the Americas international crossing seized 388.26 pounds of marijuana concealed in a compartment in the cargo area of a 1996 Viggio Mercedes passenger bus on Saturday, April 2.

The amphetamine and PCP seizure was made at approximately 8:00 am when 37-year-old Elena Ortega de Padilla applied for entry at the Bridge of the Americas pedestrian inspection area from Mexico. The CBP primary officer referred her for an intensive interview and exam during which CBP drug sniffing dog "Rici" alerted to her purse where a white powdery substance and 24 pills were found wrapped in a plastic bag inside an empty mayonnaise jar. The white powder tested positive for amphetamines and the pills for PCP.

The subject, Ortega De Padilla, was turned over to HSI special agents after federal prosecution was accepted. Ortega de Padilla is a Mexican National who resides in Encenada, Baja California, Mexico. She remains in the El Paso County jail without bond.

CBP Field Operations 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.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017