CBP Officers Seize More Than $2M in Marijuana At El Paso Port
El Paso, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the El Paso port of entry made seven marijuana seizures during the weekend. CBP officers confiscated approximately 934.2 pounds of marijuana with an approximate value of $2,167,344.
"This weekend's interdictions removed a sizeable amount of marijuana from the streets of our communities," said Bill Molaski, CBP El Paso port director. "These seizures highlight CBP's determination to serve this nation in protecting our homeland."
The largest of the marijuana seizures was made at the Paso Del Norte international crossing at approximately 7:15 p.m. on Saturday when a 2002 Chevrolet Suburban arrived at the port from Mexico. CBP officers and canine teams were conducting a sweep of vehicles waiting in line at the international crossing when CBP drug sniffing dog Outlaw alerted to the vehicle. CBP officers launched an exam and located a non-factory compartment in the floor area. They drilled into the compartment and removed a green leafy substance that tested positive for marijuana. CBP officers removed a total of 172 bundles from the compartment with an approximate weight of 437.14 pounds.
CBP officers at the port arrested the driver, 34-year-old Julio Chavez Renova of Cuauhtémoc, Chihuahua. He was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations special agents to face federal charges including importation of a controlled substance and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. He remains in custody at the El Paso County jail and being held without bond.
In addition to the drug seizures, CBP officers recorded 47 immigration violations at area ports including 21 intended immigrants and 11 impostors. Intended immigrants will use a legally issued border-crossing card, or 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 15 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 three people into custody who were being sought on outstanding warrants and lookouts to include possession of a stolen vehicle and dangerous drugs.
CBP officers working at ports of entry in El Paso, West Texas and New Mexico made four seizures of agricultural items. Violators paid $1,025 in penalties in association with the violations. Prohibited food products seized included apples, pickled pork skins, pork bologna and pork lard.
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.