CBP Officers Make Large Marijuana Bust at Santa Teresa
El Paso, Texas -- U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at El Paso area ports of entry made several marijuana seizures during the weekend. CBP officers confiscated approximately 504 pounds of marijuana in those seizures.
The largest marijuana bust of the weekend was made at the Santa Teresa port of entry Saturday at approximately 1:41 p.m. when a 56-year-old man from Denver, Colorado driving a 1998 Mercury Mystique arrived from Mexico. CBP officers selected the vehicle for a gamma-ray exam and identified several anomalies in the rear seat area.
The vehicle was taken to a separate inspection area where CBP drug sniffing dog Murphy alerted and a non-factory compartment was discovered in the rear back wall between the rear seat and trunk area. CBP officers removed a total of 125 bundles. The contents of the bundles tested positive for marijuana with an approximate weight of 209 pounds.
"The Easter holiday season is amongst the busiest time of the year for travel through the El Paso area Ports of Entry. In spite of the high volume of traffic, our officers are charged with remaining focused on threats that face our nation daily. It is through their tenacity and unwavering focus that my officers identified and ultimately made this significant seizure of marijuana," said Grace Gomez, port director for CBP in Santa Teresa.
CBP officers at the port arrested the driver. He was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations special agents to face federal charges including importation of a controlled substance and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance.
CBP officers also recorded 47 immigration violations at area ports this weekend including 28 intended immigrants, 11 impostors. Intended immigrants will use a legally issued border-crossing card (laser visa) to live or work in the U.S., which is not authorized. They also lose their documents and are generally returned to Mexico. Violators generally lose their documents, can be prosecuted and go to jail and/or are returned to Mexico. Alien smugglers are prosecuted and go to jail. CBP officers also recorded eight cases of people making false claims to U.S. citizenship, people attempting to enter with counterfeit or altered documents, and stopping those who previously entered the country illegally. Most of these people will be prosecuted and go to jail.
CBP officers seized $11, 000 of undeclared currency while conducting outbound operations at the Bridge of the Americas on Friday. CBP officers working at area ports took eight people into custody who were being sought on outstanding warrants and lookouts to include a missing juvenile, failure to appear and fugitive from justice. They also made two seizures of agricultural items. Violators paid $475 in penalties in association with the violations. Prohibited food products seized included mangos and apples.
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.