El Paso Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the El Paso port of entry made five drug busts in the last two days including two cases which involved women who were traveling with children when stopped by CBP officers.
“Unfortunately this is something that is happening more and more in the drug smuggling community,” said Hector Mancha, CBP El Paso Port Director. “Smugglers may believe that family units will not attract the scrutiny of CBP.
History has shown us that smugglers come in all age groups, sexes, nationalities and even at times as families traveling together.”
CBP officers working at the Ysleta international crossing seized 23.8 pounds of cocaine shortly before 2 p.m. Wednesday. CBP officers at the port were conducting a sweep of vehicles waiting in line when drug sniffing dog “Sany” alerted to a 2005 Chevrolet Malibu. The vehicle was being driven by a 28-year-old woman who was traveling with three daughters aged nine, seven and 10 months.
CBP officers moved the vehicle to secondary exam area to continue their inspection. They used a “Buster” density meter on the vehicle and received high readings consistent with hidden contraband in the rear portion of the car. They located a hidden compartment in the rear wheel well area of the car. CBP officers removed 11 cocaine-filled bundles from the compartment.
CBP officers took custody of the driver, 28-year-old Maria Elena Estrada Garcia of Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. She was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement HSI special agents to face federal charges in connection with the failed smuggling attempt. She is currently detained at the El Paso County jail and being held without bond.
CBP officers working at the Bridge of the Americas international crossing seized 29 pounds of marijuana shortly after 4 p.m. Wednesday. A CBP officer at the primary inspection booth noted an anomaly in the spare tire of a 1985 Chevrolet Blazer that entered the port from Mexico. The vehicle was being driven by a 22-year-old woman who was traveling with her two-year-old son.
CBP officers moved the vehicle to secondary exam area to continue their inspection. CBP drug sniffing dog “Jive’ alerted to the spare tire. CBP officers opened the tire and removed 28 marijuana-filled bundles.
CBP officers took custody of the driver, 22-year-old Angelica Hernandez Sanchez of Tornillo, Texas. She was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement HSI special agents to face federal charges in connection with the failed smuggling attempt. She is currently detained at the El Paso County jail and being held without bond.
In the last 48 hours CBP officers working at area ports made three additional marijuana seizures totaling 156 pounds. CBP officers working at area ports also recorded 19 immigration violations, apprehended three wanted people, seized prohibited medication, confiscated prohibited food products, and made one handgun and ammunition seizure. 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 routinely 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 management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.