EL PASO, Texas -- U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations officers working at the El Paso port of entry seized 224 pounds of marijuana Saturday. The drugs were concealed in multiple locations of a van that entered the port from Mexico.
“This seizure is larger than most we are currently seeing in passenger vehicles,” said Severiano Solis, acting CBP El Paso Port Director. “Smugglers will generally confine contraband in a single location. In this case it was all over the vehicle.”
The drug seizure was made just after 2 p.m. when a 2004 Nissan Quest arrived at the Ysleta international crossing from Mexico. A CBP officer working the primary inspection booth initiated a search and spotted tape-wrapped bundles in the spare tire well. The CBP officer escorted the vehicle to the secondary exam area.
CBP drug sniffing dog “Pele” search the vehicle and alerted to the presence of drugs. CBP officers x-rayed the van and spotted several anomalies. CBP officers continued their exam and removed 205 marijuana-filled bundles from the spare tire well, rear doors, quarter panels and seats.
CBP officers arrested the driver, 35-year-old Claudia Ibeth Arras Quintana of Chihuahua, Mexico. She was turned over to U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement ICE agents and booked into the El Paso County jail to face charges associated 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.