El Paso, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at the El Paso port of entry seized 5.3 pounds of heroin Saturday. The drugs were concealed on the body of an 18-year-old New Mexico woman who arrived at the port from Mexico. CBP officers at the Columbus port also stopped a Deming man who was smuggling 9.2 pounds of heroin and 24.6 pounds of methamphetamine on Friday.
The 5.3 pound heroin seizure was made shortly after 8:00 a.m. Saturday when a woman entered the U.S. as a pedestrian at the downtown Paso Del Norte crossing. CBP officers were processing arriving border crossers when they received a negative declaration from the female. CBP officers selected the woman for a more intensive examination after noting discrepancies in her appearance. The examination resulted in the discovery of four packages strapped to her abdomen. The packages were removed and their contents tested positive for heroin.
CBP officers arrested the female. She is identified as 18-year-old Yesenia Varela, of Albuquerque, New Mexico. She was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents to face federal charges in connection with the failed smuggling attempt. She is currently being held without bond at the El Paso County Detention Facility.
The 9.2 pound heroin and 24.6 pound methamphetamine seizure was made shortly before 5:00 p.m. Friday evening when a car entered the Columbus port from Mexico. CBP officers selected the vehicle for an intensive examination. CBP drug sniffing dog "Misu" alerted to a 2008 Dodge Caliber. CBP officers x-rayed the vehicle and spotted an anomaly in the center console. CBP officers removed a total of 11 heroin-filled and 48 methamphetamine-filled bundles from the car.
CBP officers arrested the driver. He is identified as 24-year-old Ruben Zavala of Deming, New Mexico. He was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents to face federal charges in connection with the failed smuggling attempt.
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.