CBP Officers Make Large Weekend Drug Bust
El Paso, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at the El Paso port of entry seized 473 pounds of marijuana in a single incident late Friday. The seizure was one of several drug busts made during the weekend at ports of entry in El Paso, West Texas, and New Mexico.
The 473-pound seizure was made at approximately 9:30 p.m. Friday at the Bridge of the Americas international crossing in El Paso. CBP officers were performing an enforcement sweep of vehicles waiting in line when CBP drug sniffing dog "Jake" alerted to the roof area of a 1995 Chevrolet van that was approaching the primary inspection booths. CBP officers initiated an exam on the vehicle and located a hidden compartment in the ceiling area of the van. CBP officers continued their search and located marijuana-filled bundles hidden in the compartment. A total of 430 bundles were removed from the compartment.
CBP officers took custody of the driver, 35-year-old Robert Anthony Madrid of Colorado Springs, Colorado. He was turned over to HSI special agents and arrested on drug smuggling charges. Madrid was booked into the El Paso County Jail. CBP officers working at area ports seized 481 pounds of marijuana and 4.8 pounds of heroin in five additional seizures this weekend.
"CBP officers are working hard everyday to stop the flow of illegal drugs and other dangerous things and dangerous people from entering the U.S.," said Hector Mancha, CBP El Paso port director. "Officer expertise, canines and various tools and technology all play a role in our inspection process."
During the previous three days, area CBP officers uncovered 41 immigration violations. Intended immigrants made up the largest group of violators. A total of 24 were identified through thorough document exams. In these cases, individuals will use a legally issued border-crossing card (laser visa) to live or work in the U.S., which is not authorized. Violators generally lose their documents and are returned to Mexico. The balance of the immigration violators included impostors, those making false claims to U.S. citizenship, and people who had entered the country without inspection.
CBP agriculture specialists working at area ports made six seizures of prohibited food and agricultural items this week, resulting in $1,300 in fines being assessed. Prohibited items seized this week included pork grease, bologna, fresh eggs, potatoes, apples, peaches and quince.
CBP officers working at area ports of entry apprehended five fugitives during the weekend period. They also recorded two export violations and one currency seizure during the weekend. 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.