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CBP Officers Turn Up the Heat on Young Drug Smugglers

Release Date: 
December 6, 2011

El Paso, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at the El Paso port of entry seized 188.6 pounds of marijuana in three drug seizures Monday. All three seizures were made at the downtown Paso Del Norte international crossing and involved suspects age 20 or younger.

"CBP officers remain vigilant despite regardless of what Mother Nature has in store," said Hector Mancha, CBP El Paso port director. "From the coldest days of winter to the hottest periods of the summer CBP officers stand guard protecting our nation from all threats."

Marijuana hidden in a vehicles bumper.

Bundles of marijuana can be seen in the bumper and a false compartment of a Dodge Stratus that entered the El Paso port of entry Monday, December 5, 2011. CBP officers at the El Paso port of entry removed 93.4 pounds of marijuana from the car.

The first seizure on a chilly Monday occurred just before 8 a.m. when a 2000 Volkswagen Golf arrived at the port of entry from Mexico. CBP officers were performing an enforcement operation in the queue of traffic just south of the primary inspection booths when CBP drug sniffing dog "Shake" alerted to the vehicle. CBP officers secured the vehicle and performed an intensive exam locating 42 marijuana-filled bundles in the spare tire. The seized contraband weighed 44 pounds.

Marijuana discovered in a spare tire.

CBP officers at the El Paso port of entry discovered 44 pounds of marijuana in the spare tire of a vehicle that entered the country on Monday, December 5, 2011. A 19-year-old El Paso man was arrested.

CBP officers took custody of the driver, 19-year-old Jovan Daniel Salazar of El Paso, Texas. He was turned over to HSI special agents and arrested on drug smuggling charges and booked into the El Paso County Jail.

The largest seizure of the day occurred shortly before 9 a.m. when a 2001 Dodge Stratus arrived at the port of entry from Mexico. CBP officers were performing an enforcement operation in the queue of traffic just south of the primary inspection booths when CBP drug sniffing dog "Shake" alerted to the vehicle. CBP officers secured the vehicle and performed an intensive exam locating 104 marijuana-filled bundles in the dashboard, rear bumper, and a custom built trunk compartment. The seized contraband weighed 93.4 pounds.

CBP officers took custody of the driver, 20-year-old Francia Griselda Pedroza-Malo of Chihuahua City, Chihuahua, Mexico. She was turned over to HSI special agents and arrested on drug smuggling charge and booked into the El Paso County Jail.

The final seizure of the day occurred shortly before 4 p.m. when a 1998 Chevrolet Blazer arrived at the port from Mexico. A CBP officer at the primary inspection booth detected an anomaly in the vehicle. CBP officers initiated a secondary inspection during which CBP drug sniffing dog "Gator" alerted to the fuel tank. CBP officers removed 30 marijuana-filled bundles from the gas tank. The seized contraband weighed 51.2 pounds.

CBP officers took custody of the driver, 20-year-old Ramon Alejandro Pena Soto of Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. He was turned over to HSI special agents and arrested on drug smuggling charge and booked into the El Paso County Jail.

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 (CBP) 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.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017