EL PASO, TEXAS—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at El Paso area ports of entry made 17 drug busts this week, seizing 1,648 pounds of marijuana and small amounts of cocaine and heroin. Three of the marijuana busts involved people age 17 or younger.
"The number of juvenile drug smugglers we apprehended this week is greater than we typically see. Usually we average about three to four cases per month," said Christopher Saindon, Acting CBP El Paso Director of Field Operations. "Parents should take note and talk to their children about the criminal consequences and dangers associated with drug smuggling."
The most recent case occurred at the Ysleta port of entry on Wednesday when CBP officers discovered 22 pounds of marijuana hidden in a vehicle driven by a 16-year-old El Paso boy. He was arrested by El Paso County constables.
CBP officers working at the Columbus port of entry found two pounds of marijuana hidden in the back pack of a 14-year-old boy from Palomas, Mexico, on February 7. He was arrested by Border Operations Task Force officers.
On February 4, CBP officers working at the Bridge of the Americas located a little more than three pounds of marijuana attached to the body of a 17-year-old El Paso boy. No arrests have been made in that case.
CBP officers working in the El Paso area routinely recorded between 100-150 juvenile drug-smuggling apprehensions a decade ago. During fiscal year 2010 the number dropped to 40. A number of CBP outreach efforts including "Operation Detour" have helped reduce the incidence of juvenile drug-smuggling activity.
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.