El Paso, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at the El Paso port of entry made seven marijuana seizures during the weekend. CBP officers confiscated approximately 2,532 pounds of marijuana with an approximate value of $2,026,008.
"CBP officers, our K-9 teams and the use of high-tech tools greatly contributed to these significant seizures and arrests. As CBP officers secure the border they encounter smuggling attempts, make arrests and seize dangerous narcotics. These were great enforcement actions by our frontline CBP officers," said Barry Miller, CBP El Paso assistant port director.
The largest of the seven marijuana busts was made at approximately 10:10 a.m. Friday when a 1999 Freightliner tractor hauling an empty trailer entered the Bridge of the Americas (BOTA) cargo facility from Mexico. CBP officers selected the vehicle for a gamma-ray exam during which they identified several anomalies in the appearance of trailer floor area. The vehicle was moved to the inspection dock where a CBP drug sniffing dog searched the trailer and alerted to the floor of the empty trailer. CBP officers inspected the trailer and found bundles wrapped in brown masking tape in the modified floor compartment. CBP officers seized approximately 2,060 pounds of marijuana.
CBP officers at the port arrested the driver, Juan Gonzalez Archuleta of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. He was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents to face federal charges including importation of a controlled substance and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. He remains in custody at the El Paso County jail and being held without bond.
In addition to the drug seizures, CBP officers recorded 43 immigration violations at area ports including 22 intended immigrants and seven impostors. Intended immigrants will use a legally issued border-crossing card (laser visa) to live or work in the U.S., which is not authorized. They also lose their documents and are generally returned to Mexico. Impostors generally will use a legitimate entry document assigned to another person and present it as their own. Violators generally lose their documents, can be prosecuted and go to jail and/or are returned to Mexico. CBP officers also recorded 14 cases of people making false claims to U.S. citizenship, people attempting to enter with counterfeit or altered documents, and stopping those who previously entered the country illegally. Most of these people will be prosecuted and go to jail.
CBP officers working at area ports took three people into custody who were being sought on outstanding warrants and lookouts to include possession of dangerous drugs, credit card abuse and possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, aiding and abetting conspiracy to launder monetary instruments.
CBP officers working at ports of entry in El Paso, West Texas and New Mexico made three seizures of agricultural items. Violators paid $225 in penalties in association with the violations. Prohibited food products seized included pork chorizo, mangos, oranges and apples.
CBP Field Operations is responsible for securing our borders at the ports of entry. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers' primary mission is anti-terrorism; they screen all people, vehicles, and goods entering the United States, while facilitating the flow of legitimate trade and travel into and out of the United States. Their mission also includes carrying out traditional border-related responsibilities, including narcotics interdiction, enforcing immigration law, protecting the nation's food supply and agriculture industry from pests and diseases, and enforcing trade laws.