CBP Officers make Two Large Marijuana Busts at New Mexico Ports
EL PASO, TEXAS—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at the Santa Teresa and Columbus ports of entry seized 1,124 pounds of marijuana in two seizures Thursday. The seizures capped off a busy enforcement week which netted area CBP officers more than 3,000 pounds of marijuana.
"CBP officers are working hard and the results are impressive," said Ana Hinojosa, Director of Field Operations in El Paso. "Every day they are making a positive contribution to our community by stopping drug smugglers, illegal immigrants, and other violators before they enter the country and cause harm."
CBP officers at the Columbus port of entry seized 605 pounds of marijuana Thursday morning after a 1997 Dodge pickup truck entered the port from Mexico. CBP officers selected the vehicle for a secondary examination during which an x-ray scan revealed anomalies in the appearance of the vehicle. CBP officers.
continued their exam and spotted suspicious bundles inside the truck. CBP drug sniffing dog "Bingo" searched the vehicle and gave a positive alert for drugs. CBP officers removed 370 marijuana-filled bricks from the floor, quarter panels, back wall and bed of the truck.
CBP officers arrested the driver of the truck, 29-year-old Eliazar Parra Suarez of Nuevo Casas Grandes, Chihuahua, Mexico. He was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement HSI special agents to face federal charges including importation of a controlled substance and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance.
CBP officers at the Santa Teresa port of entry seized 519 pounds of marijuana Thursday afternoon after a 1991Kenworth semi-truck towing a flatbed trailer loaded with another flatbed trailer entered the port from Mexico. CBP officers selected the vehicle for a secondary examination during which an x-ray scan revealed anomalies in the appearance of the shipment. CBP drug sniffing dog "Murphy" searched the trailer and gave a positive alert for drugs. CBP officers drilled into the fifth-wheel area of the trailer and obtained a green leafy substance which tested positive for marijuana. CBP officers removed nine metal boxes from the secret compartment. The boxes contained 519 pounds of tightly compressed marijuana. No arrests were made.
CBP officers working at area ports of entry made a total of 21 drug seizures during the week. The enforcement activity netted 3,085 pounds of marijuana in 19 busts and 14.7 pounds of cocaine in two additional seizures.
CBP officers working at area ports this week recorded 77 immigration violations. Intended immigrants made up a large group of the violators. A total of 44 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 violations included false claims to citizenship, impostors, visa overstays, alien smugglers, counterfeit documents and people entering the country without proper inspection.
CBP officers working at area ports made 15 drug seizures during the week including 993 pounds of marijuana in 14 busts and less than one pound of heroin in one additional seizure.
CBP agriculture specialists working at area ports this week made nine seizures of prohibited food and agricultural items resulting in $2,075 in fines being assessed. Prohibited items seized included pork, bologna, pork tamales, chicharones, apples, guavas, and fresh eggs. These items are prohibited because they pose a threat of illness or disease to people, livestock or the agriculture industry.
CBP officers working at area ports also identified 15 people who were fugitives or otherwise being sought by law enforcement agencies. They also recorded three export violations, one currency seizure, and a live birds seizure. 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.