CBP Officers Seize More than $6 Million in Narcotics, Intercept 21 Immigration Violations at Laredo Port of Entry
Laredo, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Laredo port of entry set the pace for the beginning of the traditional Holy Week holidays by seizing almost three tons of marijuana, 14 pounds of cocaine and the processing of more than 137 immigration cases that included 19 imposters and two cases involving minor children during the weekend. The narcotics seized resulted from four separate enforcement cases and the value for them is estimated at well over $6 million.
The two most recent seizures occurred at the Gateway to the Americas Bridge on Sunday, March 28. CBP officers first encountered a 1997 Honda Civic driven by a 45-year-old U.S. citizen from Laredo, Texas and referred him for a secondary inspection. A CBP canine and a non-intrusive imaging system assisted CBP officers in finding 33 bundles of marijuana weighing a total of 89 pounds concealed throughout the vehicle. The marijuana has a street value of $89,000.
The second marijuana seizure of March 28 occurred when a 1994 Ford F-150 pickup truck driven by a U.S. citizen from Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico arrived for processing. CBP officers found nine packages containing 43 pounds of marijuana hidden within the truck. The marijuana is valued at $43,000.
In terms of weight and value, the largest of the marijuana seizures occurred on Friday, March 26 at the World Trade Bridge. CBP officers processed a manifested commercial shipment of refrigerator cabinets being shipped in a 1994 Stoughton trailer and pulled by a 1996 Freightliner tractor driven by a 44-year-old Mexican citizen from Nuevo Laredo, Tamps. Mexico. The cargo of refrigerator cabinets were scanned leading CBP officers to discover 219 bundles of marijuana weighing a total of 5,575 pounds (2.7 tons) and valued at $5.5 million within the shipment trailer.
A second seizure was made on Friday, March 26, at the Gateway to the Americas Bridge when CBP officers encountered a 2000 Dodge Durango SUV driven by a 20-year-old U.S. citizen from Houston, Texas. CBP officers found four bundles of cocaine weighing 14 pounds and valued at approximately $451,200 hidden within the vehicle.
CBP officers seized the narcotics and all the vehicles involved in the thwarted smuggling attempts. These four matters were referred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for further investigation.
Laredo CBP officers were also busy processing each international traveler attempting to enter the United States, including each U.S. citizen.
Throughout the increase in traffic and travelers this weekend, CBP officers had over 137 cases of alleged immigration violations of which two involved minors and a third involved an alleged imposter.
The two incidents involving minors occurred on Saturday, March 27 at the Gateway to the Americas Bridge. The first instance involved a 21-year-old U.S. citizen accompanied by a minor male child who applied for admission to enter the United States as a pedestrian. At inspection, the inspecting CBP officer noted that the name given for the child did not match the name on the birth certificate presented for the child. The second incident involved a 31-year-old U.S. citizen traveling with a minor female child she identified as her niece who applied for admission to enter the United States also as a pedestrian. During inspection, the subject presented a birth certificate that did not belong to the minor child. Mexican authorities were contacted and the children were placed in their custody.
The third instance which occurred the same day at the same Gateway to the Americas Bridge involved a 36-year-old Mexican citizen claiming legal permanent residence who applied for admission to enter the United States through the vehicular primary lanes. The man was traveling with his brother, sister, brother-in-law and two nephews. The inspecting CBP officer noted several discrepancies and referred the subject for an immigration secondary inspection. During inspection, CBP officers utilizing CBP systems determined they had cause to believe the subject was not who he claimed to be and was not a legal permanent resident.
CBP is continuing its investigation of the alleged immigration violations.
"It is the busiest times like this holiday weekend that CBP officers' skills and dedication can be relied on the most to carry out the mission of our agency. Intercepting bulk loads of marijuana and ensuring that persons who have proper documents are admitted into the country and those who do not are stopped, is what a CBP officer's daily duties entail," said Gene Garza, CBP port director, Laredo.
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.