El Paso, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the El Paso port of entry made a 258 pound marijuana seizure on August 24. The drugs were hidden inside the wooden planks that made up the floor of a trailer. Two people were arrested in connection with the failed smuggling attempt.
The seizure was made at 10:25 p.m. when a 1988 Chevrolet pickup towing a small trailer entered the Bridge of Americas international crossing from Mexico. A CBP officer working at the primary inspection booth selected the vehicle for a secondary inspection. CBP officers initiated a thorough inspection of the vehicle and trailer and noticed anomalies in the appearance of the trailer. Further inspection revealed metal containers inside the wooden planks of the trailer floor. CBP officers dismantled the wooded planks and removed 258 pounds of marijuana from 42 metal containers.
"Smugglers went to extreme efforts to conceal this drug load," said Acting El Paso Port Director Barry Miller. "Building metal boxes and then covering those with strips of wood in attempt to thwart the inspection process was in vain because of the trained eye of the CBP officer."
CBP officers took custody of two suspects including the driver, 28-year-old Crosby Ekal Ledezma Hernandez of Cuauhtemoc, Chihuahua, Mexico. They also took custody of the passenger, 25-year-old Cinthya Karina Cera Monclava of Cuauhtemoc, Chihuahua, Mexico. Both were turned over to Homeland Security Investigations special agents to face federal charges including importation of a controlled substance and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance.
While anti-terrorism is the primary mission of CBP, 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.