EL PASO, TEXAS—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at the El Paso port of entry seized 524 pounds of marijuana Wednesday after making four drug busts. The estimated street value of the seized marijuana is $420,000.
"CBP officer expertise and high technology contributed to these seizures," said Hector Mancha, CBP El Paso Port Director. "Smugglers can be creative however the various layers of enforcement we apply at the area ports of entry helps CBP be successful in stopping smugglers at the border."
The largest of the four seizures occurred just before 9:00 a.m. at the Ysleta crossing when a 2002 Ford F-250 pickup truck arrived from Mexico. CBP officers initiated an exam and then selected the vehicle for a secondary search. CBP officers scanned the pickup with a Z-Portal non-intrusive inspection unit. They noted discrepancies in the appearance of an exterior toolbox and fuel tank in the bed of the vehicle. The box was opened revealing 11 smaller steel boxes inside. The boxes were cut open resulting in the discovery of 280 pounds of highly compressed marijuana.
CBP officers took custody of the driver, 24-year-old Alejandro Rodriguez Torres of Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. He was turned over to and arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement HSI agents in connection with the failed smuggling attempt. He is currently detained at the El Paso County jail without bond.
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.