CBP Officers Seize More Than 1,600 Pounds of Marijuana at El Paso Area Ports This Weekend
El Paso, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at El Paso area ports of entry made 14 marijuana seizures during the weekend. CBP officers confiscated a total of 1,685.65 pounds of marijuana with an approximate value of $3,910,731.
"These are outstanding seizures; the dedication and vigilance on the part of our frontline officers are what make these seizures possible," said Ana Hinojosa, CBP director of field operations in El Paso. "CBP officers continue to impress me with their efforts and enforcement actions that produce these cases."
The largest of the 14 seizures was made at 2:39 p.m. on Saturday when CBP officers at the Columbus, New Mexico port of entry confiscated 390.72 pounds of marijuana from a 22-year-old female from Denver, Colorado. The seizure was made when a 2003 Ford Explorer arrived at the primary inspection booth from Mexico. The vehicle was taken to a separate inspection area where an extensive inspection of the vehicle was conducted and CBP drug sniffing dog "Domi" alerted to the floor area. CBP officers discovered 252 tape wrapped bundles in a non-factory floor compartment. The contents of the bundles tested positive for marijuana.
CBP officers at the port arrested the driver, Evelyn Perez Gardea and the passenger 23-year-old, Velia Lucero from Aurora, Colorado. Both were turned over to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents to face federal charges including importation of a controlled substance and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance.
In addition to the drug seizures, CBP officers recorded 29 immigration violations at area ports including 11 intended immigrants and 11 impostors. Intended immigrants will use a legally issued border-crossing card (laser visa) to live or work in the U.S., which is not authorized. They also lose their documents and are generally returned to Mexico. Impostors generally will use a legitimate entry document assigned to another person and present it as their own. Violators generally lose their documents, can be prosecuted and go to jail and/or are returned to Mexico. CBP officers also recorded seven cases of people making false claims to U.S. citizenship, people attempting to enter with counterfeit or altered documents, and stopping those who previously entered the country illegally. Most of these people will be prosecuted and go to jail.
CBP officers working at area ports took four people into custody who were being sought on outstanding warrants and lookouts to include fugitives from justice for dangerous drugs, possession of a stolen vehicle and a missing person.
CBP officers working at ports of entry in El Paso, West Texas and New Mexico made three seizures of agricultural items. Violators paid $525 in penalties in association with the violations. Prohibited food products seized included oranges, pork lard and fresh poultry eggs.
CBP Field Operations is responsible for securing our borders at the ports of entry. U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers' primary mission is anti-terrorism; they screen all people, vehicles, and goods entering the United States, while facilitating the flow of legitimate trade and travel into and out of the United States. Their mission also includes carrying out traditional border-related responsibilities, including narcotics interdiction, enforcing immigration law, protecting the nation's food supply and agriculture industry from pests and diseases, and enforcing trade laws.
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.