El Paso, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at the Bridge of the Americas (BOTA) commercial cargo facility in El Paso seized 531 pounds of marijuana in one bust this weekend on Saturday.
"The layered enforcement approach CBP utilizes helped in making this seizure," said Hector Mancha, CBP El Paso Port Director. "Drug sniffing dogs, high technology, and officer expertise all contributed to this enforcement action."
The seizure was made at approximately 11:18 a.m. when a 1996 Volvo tractor-trailer hauling an empty trailer entered the BOTA cargo facility from Mexico. CBP officers and canine teams were conducting a sweep of trucks waiting in line at the international crossing when CBP drug sniffing dog "Bek" alerted to the vehicle. CBP officers conducted a gamma-ray exam and identified several anomalies in the appearance of the tractor cab. The vehicle was moved to the inspection dock where CBP officers removed a total of 474 marijuana-filled bundles. The seized marijuana weighed approximately 531 pounds.
CBP officers arrested the driver, 39-year-old Sergio Hernandez Rascon of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. He was turned over to ICE-HSI special agents after the case was accepted for federal prosecution. He was booked into the El Paso County Jail and is currently being held without bond.
CBP Field Operations is responsible for securing our borders at the ports of entry. U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers' primary mission is anti-terrorism; they screen all people, vehicles, and goods entering the United States, while facilitating the flow of legitimate trade and travel into and out of the United States. Their mission also includes carrying out traditional border-related responsibilities, including narcotics interdiction, enforcing immigration law, protecting the nation's food supply and agriculture industry from pests and diseases, and enforcing trade laws.
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.