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CBP Stops Smugglers Using Unusual Concealment Method

Release Date: 
October 27, 2016

EL PASO, Texas -- U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations officers working at the El Paso port of entry seized 354 pounds of marijuana Wednesday. The drugs were hidden in PVC pipes which were in turn concealed in the roof of a tractor trailer.

Drug bundles inside PVC piping
Drug bundles inside PVC

“This seizure was unlike most,” said Severiano Solis, acting CBP El Paso Port Director. “Smugglers worked hard to conceal this shipment employing several layers of concealment in an unsuccessful attempt to defeat the layers of enforcement CBP employs.”
The large drug seizure was made at approximately 10:20 a.m. when a tractor-trailer hauling a shipment of charcoal from Mexico to the U.S. entered the Ysleta cargo facility. The shipment was selected for a non-intrusive x-ray scan which revealed anomalies in the appearance of the trailer ceiling. CBP drug sniffing dog “Frankie” searched the vehicle and alerted to the presence of drugs.

CBP officers drilled into the ceiling of the trailer and recovered a green substance which tested positive for marijuana. CBP officers continued their exam and removed PVC piping that had been cut to fit into the ceiling area. The PVC pipes were filled with 374 bundles of marijuana. No arrests were made and the investigation continues.

In addition to the large cargo bust CBP officers working at the El Paso port of entry seized 125 pounds of marijuana in two additional busts. They also made a 96 pound liquid methamphetamine seizure and a 12.5 pound heroin seizure on Wednesday.

PVC pipes in trailer ceiling
PVC pipes in trailer ceiling

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.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017