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Texas CBP Officers Bust Smuggler with Wife, 9 Kids in Tow; Contributes to 10 Marijuana Seizures in Single Day

Release Date: 
February 1, 2010

El Paso, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at ports of entry in El Paso, Presidio and Antelope Wells made 10 marijuana seizures Friday. CBP officers seized a total of 638 pounds of marijuana during the day.

Packages of marijuana are discovered in a vehicle's gas tank.

Packages of marijuana are discovered in a vehicle's gas tank.

The largest seizure occurred at the Presidio port of entry Friday morning when a Ford E350 van carrying a family of 11 entered the port from Mexico. CBP officers initiated an inspection of the entry documents of the travelers while another group of CBP officers searched the vehicle. CBP officers detected an anomaly in the fuel tank. CBP officers deployed a fiber optic scope to examine the inside of the tank and noticed additional anomalies consistent with drug smuggling.

One of three bundles of compressed marijuana found in metal boxes in a vehicle's gas tank.

One of three bundles of compressed marijuana found in metal boxes in a vehicle's gas tank.

The fuel tank was removed from the van and opened. CBP officers located three non-factory metal boxes inside the fuel tank. The boxes were opened revealing 35 marijuana-filled bundles. The marijuana weighed 129 pounds. CBP officers seized the marijuana and van.

CBP officers arrested the driver of the van, 37-year-old Peter Remel of Elmer, Ontario, Canada. He was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agents who secured federal prosecution related to the failed drug smuggling attempt. Rempel was booked into the Brewster County jail. His wife and nine children gathered their personal belongings and returned to Mexico.

The second largest seizure of the day occurred at the Antelope Wells port of entry in southwestern New Mexico. CBP officers made the bust shortly after 2 p.m. when a 1996 Chevrolet Silverado arrived at the port from Mexico. CBP officers selected the vehicle for a secondary examination. CBP officers deployed a fiber optic scope to examine the gas tank and noticed anomalies consistent with drug smuggling.

CBP officers scanned the truck with a mobile x-ray truck and spotted a dense area in the fuel tank. CBP drug sniffing dog "Cordon" searched the vehicle and alerted to the fuel tank. CBP officers located three non-factory metal boxes inside the fuel tank which contained 113 pounds of marijuana.

CBP officers arrested the driver of the truck, 22-year-old Erasmo Perez Diaz of Salvador Alvardo, Sinoloa, Mexico. He was turned over to ICE special agents who secured federal prosecution related to the failed drug smuggling attempt.

In addition to the Presidio and Antelope Wells seizures, CBP officers at the El Paso port of entry made eight more marijuana seizures on Friday, confiscating 396 pounds of the drug. 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.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017