EL PASO, TEXAS—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at ports of entry in El Paso, West Texas and New Mexico recorded 27 enforcement actions Thursday. CBP officers intercepted drug smugglers, illegal immigrants, fugitives and other violators during the course of the day.
"Thorough enforcement takes time and as the results show the need to be vigilant is constant," said Ana Hinojosa, director of Field Operations in El Paso. "Nevertheless crossing times were short most of the day with a maximum 10 minute wait for pedestrians at the Paso Del Norte (PDN) port and 50 minutes or less for car and commercial truck drivers at any of the crossings."
CBP officers working at area ports seized 177 pounds of marijuana in three seizures. One case of note occurred at the PDN pedestrian crossing when 19-year-old Alejandro Huerta of Anthony, New Mexico, attempted to enter the U.S. with marijuana bundles taped to his legs. CBP officers removed eight bundles of marijuana from the teen. The drugs weighed 2.2 pounds. CBP officers took custody of the subject and turned him over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement HSI agents. He is currently being detained at the El Paso County Jail with no bond and facing importation of a controlled substance and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance charges.
Prohibited food intercepts remained brisk Thursday. CBP agriculture specialists working at area ports made eight seizures of prohibited food and agricultural items resulting in $2,025 in fines being assessed. Prohibited items seized included pork skins, chicharones with meat, oranges, apples, guavas, pomelos, sugar cane, mangoes, sweet potatoes, avocados and seeds. It is important that people understand that these items are prohibited because they pose a threat of illness or disease to people, livestock or the agriculture industry.
CBP officers working at area ports Thursday recorded 13 immigration violations. Intended immigrants made up a large group of the violators. A total of eight 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 working at area ports also arrested three people wanted by other law enforcement authorities for a variety of offenses. 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.