Steamroller Concealing Marijuana Contributes to 2 Tons Seized at Laredo Cargo Facility
Laredo, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the World Trade Bridge commercial cargo lot at the Laredo, Texas Laredo port of entry seized more than two tons of marijuana last week. The drugs valued in excess of $4.4 million in the two separate cases were concealed inside a steamroller and a shipment of air and oil filters.
The latest and largest seizure occurred on Friday, December 4. It is the second large drug load discovered in a commercial truck in less than two weeks at the Laredo port. On November 24, CBP officers at this same commercial cargo lot seized more than 1,765 pounds of marijuana.
The Friday seizure was made just after 7 p.m. when a 1994 Kenworth tractor hauling a 2002 Wabash trailer entered the compound from Mexico. After interviewing the driver, Jesus Mendoza Martinez, a 30-year-old Mexican citizen from Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico a CBP officer referred the tractor-trailer rig to the cargo x-ray unit for closer examination. A CBP officer determined that there were anomalies within the manifested cargo inside the trailer.
CBP officers conducted a physical and closer visual inspection of the shipment that revealed bundles co-mingled among the manifested pallets of air and oil filters. A total of 73 bundles were removed from the trailer. The bundles contained 2,677 pounds of marijuana, which has a street value of more than $2.7 million. The tractor and trailer were also seized by CBP officers.
Just days before, CBP officers at the same commercial bridge had stopped another significant load of marijuana. CBP officers referred the 1997 International tractor pulling a 2003 Lufkin flatbed trailer with a vibration road roller machine for a non-intrusive imagining system scan that resulted in anomalies being detected within the wheels of the heavy-duty roller. CBP narcotics detector dog "Donna" also alerted to the odor of narcotics emanating from the wheels of the roller. CBP officers conducted an intensive examination and discovered a total of 195 bundles carrying 1,765 pounds of marijuana within the metal wheels of the road roller. The marijuana has an estimated street value of $1.7 million.
In both of these cases, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agents investigated the seizures that resulted in the arrests of two men on federal drug violations.
"Laredo's CBP officers are dedicated to balancing the facilitation of trade with our priority border security mission. Our officers used a combination of their experience and technological tools to ferret out well-hidden contraband, as was the case with the heavy duty road roller," said Gene Garza, CBP port director, Laredo. "These two cases resulting in over two tons of narcotics demonstrate the daily enforcement efforts of our officers. They successfully accomplish this mission, while not impeding the flow of commerce that is so strongly linked to the economy of Laredo."
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.