El Paso, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the El Paso, Texas port of entry seized 7.3 pounds of cocaine Saturday night. The drugs were hidden in the battery of a pick-up truck.
CBP officers discovered the drug load just after 6 p.m. Saturday when a 2002 Ford F-250 pickup carrying a family of three attempted to enter the Ysleta international crossing from Mexico. CBP officers were performing a sweep of vehicles waiting in line when CBP drug sniffing dog "Outlaw" alerted to the truck. CBP officers initiated a search and discovered six cocaine-filled bundles hidden inside a battery case. The driver of the vehicle was arrested by CBP officers. His wife and daughter were released.
"Smugglers will try just about anything in their attempts to smuggle drugs into the country including crossing the border with family members in their vehicle in an attempt to deflect suspicion," said William "Bill Molaski, U.S. Customs and Border Protection El Paso port director. "What smugglers fail to realize is that CBP drug sniffing dogs aren't concerned about who is in the car but rather what they may be hiding."
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agents took custody of the driver and booked him into the El Paso County Jail on federal drug smuggling charges. He is identified as 49-year-old Juan Manuel Rodriguez of Lovington, New Mexico.
During the weekend, CBP officers at the El Paso port of entry made nine additional drug busts, seizing 597 pounds of marijuana. 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.