El Paso Area CBP Officers Apprehend 37 Fugitives in One Week
El Paso, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel working at ports of entry in El Paso, West Texas, and New Mexico identified and took custody of more than three dozen fugitives during the previous seven days. Included in the group were individuals being sought on homicide charges, robbery, drug possession charges and traffic warrants.
"Many of these people pose a risk not only to our community but our officers as well," said William Molaski, CBP El Paso Port Director. "Some are considered armed and dangerous while others carry materials that could be harmful to our officers."
One such case occurred at the Paso Del Norte pedestrian crossing in downtown El Paso Thursday morning. CBP officers performing name queries identified 32-year-old William Ethan Pruden of Colorado Springs as a fugitive being sought by authorities in Colorado on felony contempt of court and criminal impersonation charges. CBP officers found that Pruden had a hypodermic needle and other drug paraphernalia in his possession. The items tested positive for the properties of Ecstasy. Pruden was turned over to the El Paso Police Department.
"Hypodermic needles are a concern because of the potential for the spread of disease if they are mishandled," said Molaski.
In addition to the fugitive apprehensions, CBP officers working at El Paso area ports dealt with a variety of cases in the past seven days.
They made eleven drug seizures during the week including 10 marijuana busts weighing 547 pounds and one two-pound cocaine seizure. The cocaine bust was made Thursday afternoon at the Bridge of the Americas pedestrian crossing when 37-year-old Juarez resident Alfonso Martinez Lopez entered the U.S. from Mexico. CBP officers performed an inspection and located one rectangular package held to his back by an elastic band and hidden under his shirt. The contents of the package tested positive for cocaine. CBP officers arrested the man and turned him over to ICE for federal prosecution.
CBP agriculture specialists working at area ports made 10 seizures of prohibited food and agricultural items this week, resulting in $2,375 in fines being assessed. Prohibited items seized this week included pork skins, pork lard, pork blood, pork sausage, potatoes, oranges, live cacti and other live plants. CBP agricultural specialist also seized crocodile skin boots and belts and deer hooves in two additional incidents. The items were turned over to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officers.
During the previous seven days, area CBP officers uncovered 94 immigration violations. Intended immigrants made up a large group of the violators. A total of 34 were identified through thorough document exams. In these cases, individuals will use a legally issued border-crossing card (laser visa) to live or work in the U.S., which is not authorized. Violators generally lose their documents and are returned to Mexico.
CBP officers this week also identified 34 imposters while performing inspection at area ports. Imposters generally will use a legitimate entry document assigned to another person and present it as their own. CBP officers also recorded 26 cases of people making false claims to U.S. citizenship, people attempting to enter with counterfeit or altered documents, people attempting to enter without inspection and visa overstay violations.
CBP officers this week also recovered a stolen vehicle, seized ammunition, confiscated prohibited veterinary medications and recorded one export violation. 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.
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.