Table found inside a cargo van; driver arrested and charged
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) field operations officers seized Monday 10.1 pounds (4.5 kilos) of heroin concealed inside a decorative table found within a cargo van, driven by a male U.S. citizen, arriving from the Dominican Republic. The estimated value of the seized contraband is $250,000.
Ezequiel Tineo Alcala, 45, was arrested and will appear today before U.S. District Court for charges related to the smuggling and distribution of narcotics.
CBP field operations officers conducting vehicle inspections arriving on board the ferry M/V Caribbean Fantasy, selected Alcala’s Ford cargo van for a more intrusive inspection.
A CBP K9 alerted to a decorative table inside the van. The table was drilled revealing a residue which tested positive for heroin.
The vehicle’s Puerto Rico registration appeared on behalf of the driver, Ezequiel Alcala.
“Criminal organizations seek to use the supply chain as a means to conceal and move narcotics,” said Marcelino Borges, director of field operations for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. “Our officers remain vigilant to detect and prevent any attempts to circumvent the security measures that are in place.”
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents assumed custody of the seized contraband and Mr. Alcala for further investigation.
The prosecution is led by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeanette Mercado.
All defendants are presumed innocent until found guilty by a court of law.
CBP uses sophisticated methods to identify and target potentially high-risk passengers and cargo, including advanced electronic information about every passenger and cargo shipment entering into the U.S. before their arrival, canine inspections and non-intrusive devices.
CBP Office of Field Operations’ dual mission is to facilitate travel in the United States while we secure our borders, our people and our visitors from those that would do us harm like terrorists and terrorist weapons, criminals, and contraband.
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.