Hidalgo, Texas - Officers with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Office of Field Operations at the Hidalgo International Bridge arrested a woman from Laredo, Texas with alleged cocaine valued at just over $150,000 this weekend. CBP officers also arrested two alleged child smugglers.
On Sunday night, November 11, 2012 a 2004 grey Pontiac Grand Am arrived at the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge driven by a 32-year-old female United States citizen from Santa Maria, Texas. Also in the vehicle were a 31-year-old male U.S. citizen from Mission, Texas and two young children, who the adult female traveler claimed were her children. The adult male presented a U.S. passport card and the adult female presented a U.S. birth certificate for herself and for the male child, claiming U.S. citizenship for the female infant as well. A CBP officer referred the vehicle and occupants to secondary for further inspection and document review. It was there that officers discovered that the two children were not related to either adult travelers but were in fact citizens from El Salvador with no legal documents to enter or reside in the United States.
On Saturday evening, November 10, 2012 CBP officers also at Hidalgo encountered a female 21-year-old United States citizen from Laredo in a Mexican taxicab. Noting irregularities with the female's appearance, a CBP officer referred the vehicle to secondary for a more thorough inspection. It was there that two packages weighing approximately 2.14 kilograms (4.71 pounds) of alleged cocaine were discovered hidden on her person. CBP seized the cocaine, which has an estimated street value of $151,000.
The female and male adult travelers involved in the alleged smuggling of the children were incarcerated pending appearance before a U.S. Federal Magistrate on criminal charges for alleged violation of U.S. immigration law. The two children, ages five and two, are cousins, and were released to a U.S. Health and Human Services-Office of Refugee Resettlement (HHS-ORR) facility where they will be temporarily housed. The adult female allegedly involved with the cocaine was released to the custody of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for further investigation.
"It was a productive weekend for us at the Hidalgo International Bridge and it illustrates the diversity of violations that our officers face frequently," said Efrain Solis Jr., Port Director, Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas. "Detecting smuggling attempts of both narcotics and persons are examples of how CBP helps keep our country safe."