SANTA TERESA, N.M -- U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations officers working at the Santa Teresa port of entry seized 31.5 pounds of cocaine Wednesday. The estimated street value of the seized contraband is $1,008,000.
The seizure was made Wednesday afternoon when a 2007 Nissan Frontier with an adult male driver entered the port from Mexico. A CBP officer initiated a secondary examination and noticed anomalies in the appearance of the vehicle. A CBP canine team was called to screen the vehicle and the officer received an alert for the presence of narcotics from his dog. An X-ray system was also used and the images produced revealed anomalies within the fuel tank. Officers removed the tank and located green taped bundles within. A CBP officer probed a bundle and recovered a substance which tested positive for cocaine. A total of 12 cocaine-filled packages were recovered from the gas tank. The drugs weighed a total of 31.5 pounds.
“A multi-layered inspection involving an X-ray system, a canine team, solid interviewing techniques, and years of officer experience led to this significant seizure,” said CBP Santa Teresa Port Director Ray Provencio. “Santa Teresa officers are responsible for multiple cocaine seizures in 2017 stopping almost 70 pounds of this dangerous narcotic from reaching our communities.”
CBP officers arrested the driver, a 22-year-old American male from El Paso, Texas. He was turned over to ICE HSI special agents to face charges in connection with the failed smuggling attempt.
In addition to the Santa Teresa cocaine seizure, CBP officers at the El Paso port of entry made six additional drug busts Wednesday seizing 163 pounds of marijuana, 21.7 pounds of crystal methamphetamine, and 63 grams of cocaine. 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.