EL PASO, Texas -- U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operation officers working at the El Paso port of entry made a 33.4 pound cocaine seizure Saturday. The drug bust was one of nine drug seizures made by CBP officers working at area ports this weekend. CBP officers also arrested several wanted subjects, intercepted prohibited agricultural items, and seized unreported currency during the three day period.
“CBP officers continue to work hard to separate the violators from the thousands of law abiding travelers using our area ports on a daily basis,” said CBP El Paso Director of Field Operations Hector Mancha. “Legitimate trade and travel continues while vigilant CBP officers stop those who elect to break the law.”
The most significant seizure of the weekend occurred at approximately 11:20 a.m. Saturday at the Paso Del Norte international crossing at the El Paso port of entry when a 2007 Volkswagen Jetta entered the port from Mexico. A CBP officer at the primary inspection booth interviewed the driver of the car and then selected the vehicle for a secondary exam. CBP drug sniffing dog “Gino” alerted to the rocker panel area of the car during the canine sweep.
A CBP officer used a “Buster” density meter to examine the rocker panels and received high readings consistent with hidden contraband. CBP officers scanned the vehicle with the Z-Portal x-ray system which helped CBP identify an anomaly in the appearance of the vehicle. CBP officers continued their exam and located 16 cocaine-filled bundles hidden in the rocker panels of the car. The drugs weighed 33.4 pounds.
CBP officers arrested the driver of the car, 20-year-old Ricardo Lopez Estrada of Guadalajara, 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.
During the weekend CBP officers made six marijuana seizures, two cocaine seizure and one methamphetamine seizure. They also apprehended three NCIC fugitives and seized $19,570 in unreported currency. CBP agriculture specialists seized prohibited oranges, apples, guavas, limes, plums sugarcane and seeds assessing penalties of $1,125.
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.