EL PASO, Texas -- U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations officers working at the El Paso port of entry made four drug busts Thursday. The enforcement activity netted 13 pounds of cocaine in one case and 162 pounds of marijuana in three additional enforcement actions. The estimated street value of the seized contraband is $545,600.
“Smugglers went to great lengths to conceal these drug loads,” said Beverly Good, CBP El Paso Port Director. “CBP officers continue to work hard to stop all threats they encounter at the El Paso port of entry.”
The cocaine seizure was made at about 10:30 a.m. at the Bridge of the Americas international crossing while CBP officers were performing a sweep of vehicles waiting to enter the U.S. from Mexico. A CBP officer selected a GMC pickup truck for a secondary exam after noting anomalies in the appearance of the vehicle.
CBP drug sniffing dog “Drago” alerted to the engine area of the truck. CBP officers removed the air filter assembly and located a non-factory metal box within the engine manifold. CBP officers drilled the compartment and retrieved a white substance which tested positive for cocaine. CBP officers removed a total of six cocaine filled bundles weighing 13 pounds from the engine compartment.
CBP officers arrested the driver, 22-year-old Erick Alonso Alvarado Talamantes of Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. He was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement HSI agents to face charges associated with the failed smuggling attempt.
In addition to the cocaine bust CBP officers at the El Paso port also made three marijuana seizures totaling 162 pounds Thursday.
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.