Caleixco, Calif. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers assigned to the downtown Calexico port of entry arrested a 19-year-old female enrolled in CBP's trusted traveler program and prevented more than 153 pounds of marijuana with an estimated value of $153,000 from entering the U.S. yesterday.
On Tuesday, June 15, at approximately 12:21 p.m. the Mexican citizen attempted to enter the U.S. through the designated SENTRI lane driving a 2000 silver Ford Focus when the vehicle was selected for a random compliance examination.
During the secondary examination, a detector dog alerted to the trunk of the vehicle. Further inspection revealed six large bundles of marijuana concealed in black garbage bags and a garment bag.
CBP revoked the driver's SENTRI privileges, arrested her and turned her over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents for investigation and prosecution. In addition, CBP seized the vehicle and narcotics.
According to Port Director Billy Whitford, although SENTRI members have passed a more in-depth background check to be enrolled in the program, they still are randomly inspected as a deterrent.
"Violators who attempt to exploit our trusted traveler programs such as this are unacceptable," said Whitford. "When we apprehend them, we work with authorities to prosecute them to the fullest extent possible."
SENTRI, or Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection, is CBP's trusted traveler program along the southern border of the U.S. The voluntary program provides dedicated vehicle lanes and expedited processing at various ports of entry for pre-approved, low-risk travelers. Travelers who elect to enter the program face some additional scrutiny, including an interview with CBP officers, fingerprinting and background check, before they are allowed to participate.
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.