CBP Officers Seize 2 Tons of Narcotics Amid Surge in Traffic during New Year's Holiday Weekend
Laredo, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Laredo port of entry seized more than two tons of marijuana at a commercial crossing and 121 pounds of cocaine at another crossing that resulted in the arrests of two individuals during the New Year's holiday weekend. The total value for the narcotics seized is listed at over $8 million.
The latest seizure case occurred on Sunday, January 3, when CBP officers at the Lincoln Juarez International Bridge were processing traffic through the additional four lanes located within the former import lot and encountered a 2004 Ford F-150 pick up truck driven by a U.S. citizen from Tomball, Texas. The truck was referred to secondary where CBP officers detected discrepancies with the bed of the pickup. An imaging system scan revealed anomalies within the same area and a CBP narcotics detector dog assisted in alerting to the presence of the odor of narcotics. A total of 50 bundles containing cocaine were removed from within the truck bed. The cocaine weighed approximately 121 pounds and is valued at $3.8 million.
The second largest seizure in terms of street value occurred at the World Trade Bridge on Wednesday, December 30, when a commercial shipment of plastic bottles was referred for a non-intrusive scan that resulted in the detection of anomalies within the pallets of the shipment. The anomalies resulted in 138 bundles of marijuana weighing over 4,226 pounds and valued at $4.5 million.
CBP officers arrested both the commercial truck driver and the pickup truck driver and turned them over to ICE agents who investigated both seizures and processed the men on drug charges. CBP officers also seized both the commercial conveyance and the truck.
Yet another seizure occurred just hours after the first, on the same date, at the same commercial crossing that netted 276 pounds of marijuana within a shipment of leather seat covers.
Although there were no immediate arrests in the case involving marijuana within the shipment of seat covers, that case remains under investigation by ICE agents.
In addition, New Year's Day is the date that most people treat as the last day of the holidays, when students prepare to return to classes and everyone gets back to work. CBP officers in Laredo know that it is a time when all the travelers who made their trek to Mexico to spend the holidays with family and friends will be returning to the U.S. This New Year's Day weekend CBP officers at the four international bridges processed 22,000 travel permits, another increase over last year's number. CBP agriculture specialists also issued almost 35 penalties for prohibited items ranging from fruits, meats, vegetables, and other plant material including sugarcane for a total of almost $9,600 in penalties assessed.
"This year as every year here in Laredo, CBP officers process an inordinate amount of traffic and travelers seeking travel permits. Although we have seen an increase in the number of permits and the number of travelers from last year, our CBP officers still maintained their vigilance and intercepted these significant loads of narcotics," said Gene Garza, CBP port director, Laredo. "These interceptions are a testament to the caliber of work that CBP officers exercise in ensuring that the security of our borders is maintained."
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.