Layered Enforcement by CBP Officers Results in 7 Marijuana Seizures at El Paso Port of Entry
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 a total of 520.30 pounds of marijuana.
The largest of the seven seizures was made on Saturday in the vehicular inspection area of the Ysleta International crossing at 3:14 p.m. A CBP officer at the primary inspection booth noticed inconsistencies in the statements from the driver of a 2006 GMC Sierra. The vehicle was escorted to a secondary inspection area for an intensive exam. CBP drug sniffing dog "Bianca" searched the vehicle and alerted to the gas tank. CBP officers discovered 42 bundles and two bales in the gas tank. The contents of the bundles and bales tested positive for marijuana with a total weight of 159 pounds.
"The layered enforcement approach CBP utilizes helped in making this seizure," said Barry Miller, CBP El Paso assistant port director. "Drug sniffing dog and officer expertise all contributed to this enforcement action".
CBP officers at the port arrested the driver, 42-year-old Kenneth Harris of Arvada, Colorado. He was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents to face federal charges including importation of a controlled substance and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. He is currently detained without bond at the El Paso County Jail.
In addition to the drug seizures, CBP officers working at El Paso area ports of entry also recorded 40 immigration violations this weekend including 25 intended immigrants, and five imposters. 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. Imposters 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 ten cases of people attempting to enter with counterfeit or altered documents, visa overstay violations and people making false claims to U.S. citizenship. People falsely claiming to U.S. citizenship are prosecuted and go to jail.
CBP officers working at area ports made a total of 16 fugitive apprehensions during the period.
CBP officers working at ports of entry in El Paso, West Texas and New Mexico made six seizures of agricultural items. Violators paid $1,525 in penalties in association with the violations. Prohibited food products seized included pork bologna, pork rinds, apples, oranges and mangos.
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.
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.