EL PASO, TEXAS—U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the El Paso port of entry seized 17.3 pounds of cocaine in one enforcement action Wednesday. The drugs have an estimated street value of $553,600. CBP officers also seized 290 pounds of marijuana in three additional drug seizures July 31.
"Every cocaine seizure we make is significant," said Hector Mancha, CBP El Paso Port Director. "Smugglers go to great lengths to conceal their contraband and CBP officers are working hard to identify and stop all drug loads at the border."
The seizure occurred just before 3 p.m. Wednesday when a 2000 Dodge Caravan entered the Paso Del Norte international crossing from Mexico. The vehicle was occupied by a 25-year-old female and two children. CBP officers selected the vehicle for a secondary exam. A CBP drug sniffing dog searched the van and alerted to the dashboard area. CBP officers scanned the vehicle with the Z-Portal x-ray system and spotted anomalies in the firewall of the vehicle. CBP officers removed multiple cocaine-filled bundles from the compartment.
CBP officers took custody of the driver of the car, 25-year-old Catalyne Codina of Canutillo, Texas. She is facing federal charges in connection with the failed smuggling attempt. The children were remanded to the custody of a relative.
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.