Stuffed Teddy Bear, Television Intercepted in El Paso Conceal Packages of Marijuana
El Paso, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at El Paso area ports of entry made a dozen marijuana seizures during this weekend including finding drugs hidden in a large teddy bear and also inside a hollowed out television set. CBP officers seized a total of 1,384 pounds of marijuana in the 12 seizures.
"CBP officers understand that drug smuggling organizations will try anything to defeat the CBP inspection process but this is something we typically do not see," said William Molaski, U.S. Customs and Border Protection El Paso port director. "The attention to detail demonstrated by the officers involved in these seizures proves once again that our workforce is committed and thorough and constantly vigilant in performing their mission."
The stuffed teddy bear seizure happened at the Paso Del Norte international crossing in downtown El Paso just before 3 p.m. Saturday. The seizure was made after a 1993 Mercury Villager entered the port from Mexico. The driver of the car, a 45-year-old man from Juarez, told CBP officers he was going to deliver a large teddy bear to a sick relative. CBP officers noticed that the man appeared nervous and initiated an intensive exam.
CBP officers x-rayed the bear and noted several unusual packages inside. They probed the bear and removed a green substance that tested positive for marijuana. CBP officers removed a total of 10 marijuana-filled bundles weighing 10.8 pounds from inside the bear. The driver of the vehicle was turned over to the El Paso Police Department for prosecution.
About one hour before the teddy bear bust, CBP officers at PDN discovered 25.7 pounds of marijuana inside a television set. The seizure was made after a 2000 Mazda 626 entered the port from Mexico. A CBP drug sniffing dog search the vehicle and alerted to a television set resting on the backseat of the car. CBP officers x-rayed the TV and spotted what appeared to be bundles inside. CBP officers removed the screen and removed a total of 23 marijuana-filled bundles from the television. The driver of the car, a 32-year-old man from Juarez, was remanded to the custody of the El Paso Police Department for local prosecution.
The largest seizure of the weekend occurred just after noon on Saturday at the Bridge of the Americas as CBP officers and U.S. Border Patrol agents were conducting a sweep of vehicles waiting in line to enter the U.S. from Mexico. CBP drug sniffing dog "Shake" alerted to a 1997 Ford Expedition during the sweep. The driver of the vehicle appeared nervous during routine questioning and CBP officers initiated a through exam. They discovered 215 marijuana filled bundles, weighing 440 pounds, concealed in the ceiling, seats and floor of the vehicle.
CBP officer arrested the driver of the car, 57-year-old Ramon Armando Jimenez-Marquez of Cuauhtemoc, Chihuahua, Mexico. He was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agent to face federal charges in connection with the failed smuggling attempt.
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.