CBP Officers In Southern Texas ID Dozens Of Violations This Week
El Paso, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at El Paso area ports of entry identified 140 violations during the past week. CBP officers seized drugs, arrested illegal immigrants, captured fugitives and stopped prohibited agricultural items from entering the U.S. at ports of entry in El Paso, West Texas and New Mexico.
CBP officers working at El Paso area ports entry seized 7.15 pounds of cocaine on Wednesday. A Socorro woman was arrested in the incident.
"This seizure was one of several important enforcement actions made by El Paso CBP officers this week," said Hector Mancha, CBP El Paso port director. "Every day CBP officers are stopping dangerous things and dangerous people at area border crossings."
The cocaine seizure was made late Wednesday morning at the Ysleta international crossing after a 1998 Ford Expedition entered the facility from Mexico. CBP officers selected the vehicle for a secondary exam during which CBP drug sniffing dog "Rici" alerted to the center console. CBP officers searched the vehicle and located three packages concealed within the console. CBP officers probed a bundle producing a white powder which tested positive for cocaine. The combined weight of the cocaine in the three packages was 7.15 pounds.
CBP officers took custody of the driver, 33-year-old Mercedes Gutierrez De Diaz, a legal permanent resident living in Socorro, Texas. She was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) HSI special agents in connection with the failed smuggling attempt. She is currently detained at the El Paso County Jail on federal charges.
Area CBP officers seized 1,239 pounds of marijuana in 10 additional drug busts.
CBP officers uncovered 91 immigration violations during the last seven days. Intended immigrants made up the largest group of violators. A total of 35 were identified through thorough document exams. In these cases, individuals will use a legally issued border-crossing card (laser visa) to live or work in the U.S., which is not authorized. Violators generally lose their documents and are returned to Mexico.
CBP officers also identified a total of 15 impostors this week. Impostors with previous criminal histories are generally booked into the El Paso County jail to face federal prosecution. Impostors are also removed from the United States for a minimum five-year period and face federal felony charges if they attempt to illegally reenter the country again.
The balance of the immigration violators included those making false claims to U.S. citizenship, people attempting to enter with counterfeit or altered documents, visa overstay violations and people who had entered the country without inspection.
CBP officers working at area ports identified 18 people being sought by law enforcement this week.
Area CBP officers made 11 seizures of prohibited food and agricultural items this week, resulting in $2,675 in fines being assessed. Prohibited items seized this week included pork, chorizo, apples, oranges, pears, mangos, guavas and plums.
Area CBP officers this week also seized smuggled ammunition, tactical gear, steroids and other medications. While anti-terrorism is the primary mission of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the inspection process at the ports of entry associated with this mission results in impressive numbers of enforcement actions in all categories.
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.