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CBP Stops Senior Smuggler

Release Date: 
April 12, 2013

EL PASO, TEXAS—U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations officers working at the El Paso port of entry seized 35 pounds of marijuana Thursday morning. The drugs were hidden in a truck being driven by a 69-year-old El Paso man.


drugs are hidden inside of smuggling vehicle driven by 69-year-old man


"Young or old, man or woman, alone or in a group, CBP officers encounter all variety of smugglers," said Hector Mancha, CBP El Paso Port Director. "This incident serves as a reminder for CBP officers to remain vigilant."

The seizure was made just after 6 a.m. when a 2002 Ford F-150 truck arrived at the Ysleta international crossing from Mexico. A CBP officer selected the vehicle for a secondary exam. CBP officers searched the vehicle and noted several anomalies. A CBP drug sniffing dog searched the truck and alerted.


drugs were located within the rear wall of the smuggling vehicle


CBP officers used a "Buster" density meter to search the truck and received high readings consistent with hidden contraband. CBP officers scanned the vehicle with a Z-Portal x-ray system and spotted several discrepancies in the appearance of the rear wall. CBP officers continued their exam and located 32-marijuana filled bundles hidden in the truck.

CBP officers arrested the driver, 69-year-old Charles Lee Niehaus of El Paso, Texas. He turned over to and arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement HSI agents in connection with the failed smuggling attempt. He is currently detained at the El Paso County jail without bond.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017