EL PASO, Texas -- U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operation officers working at the El Paso port of entry seized 5.7 pounds of heroin yesterday. The seizure was one of 28 drug seizures made by area CBP officers during the last seven days. A total of 5,961 pounds of marijuana, 8.2 pounds of methamphetamine, 8.1 pounds of heroin, and a small quantity of steroids were seized in those busts.
“Homeland security is our primary mission however the exams we perform to protect our nation also generate numerous drug seizures, said Hector Mancha, CBP El Paso Director of Field Operations. “Drug smuggling remains a consistent threat in our region. CBP officers understand that and their commitment to the agency mission is generating significant enforcement activity.”
The 5.7 pound heroin seizure was made just before noon yesterday at the Paso Del Norte international crossing in El Paso. A 2006 Ford 500 vehicle with a single occupant arrived from Mexico. A CBP officer at the primary inspection station initiated an interview with the driver and then selected the car for a secondary exam. CBP drug sniffing dog “Bosco” searched the car and alerted to the underside of the vehicle. CBP officers continued their exam and located 25 drug-filled bundles concealed in the oil pan of the car. The contents of the drugs tested positive for heroin.
“This was a deeply concealed drug load,” said Mancha. “Significant time and energy was expended by the smugglers in an attempt to defeat the CBP inspection process.”
CBP officers arrested the driver of the vehicle, 28-year-old Humberto Ponce Oropeza of Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico. He was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations special agents to face charges associated with the failed smuggling attempt and booked into the El Paso County jail.
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.