EL PASO, TEXAS—U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and U.S. Border Patrol agents working at the El Paso port of entry seized 16.7 pounds of cocaine Friday night. The estimated street value of the seized contraband is $534,400.
"This is the second cocaine load CBP has stopped in recent days," said Hector Mancha, CBP El Paso port director. "CBP officers at the El Paso port made a 7.3 pound cocaine bust on Wednesday. CBP officers remain vigilant in their efforts to identify and stop all illicit activity at border ports."
The seizure was made at approximately 7:30 p.m. Friday when a 2012 Chevrolet Malibu entered the Bridge of the Americas international crossing from Mexico. CBP officers and Border Patrol agents were performing a sweep of vehicles waiting in line when CBP drug sniffing dog "Shake" alerted to the car. CBP officers initiated a secondary exam of the vehicle and noticed a number of anomalies in the appearance of the car. CBP officers scanned the vehicle with the Z-Portal x-ray system and spotted a potential compartment in the wheel well area of the car. CBP officers continued the exam and removed six cocaine-filled bundles from a hidden compartment.
CBP officers arrested the driver of the car, 35-year-old Norma Aida Nunez Saenz of Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. She was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement HSI special agents to face federal charges in connection with the failed smuggling attempt. She is currently being detained without bond at 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 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.