EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — Border officers at South Texas ports of entry seized more than $2.7 million worth of cocaine within three days, according to several U.S. Customs and Border Protection news releases.
The largest seizure came on May 25 at the World Trade Bridge in Laredo, Texas. CBP officials said a Volvo tractor-trailer that was supposed to be importing lead pipe from Mexico also was carrying 119.5 pounds of cocaine.
A drug-sniffing dog and a non-intrusive imaging system inspection led border officers to 32 packages of cocaine within the tires. The drugs had an estimated street value of $921,400.
“This seizure demonstrates how the officers’ determination, utilization of technology and canines led to the discovery of these hard narcotics,” said Alberto Flores, port director for the Laredo Port of Entry.”
The following day, border officers inspected a Sterling tractor-trailer that was hauling in wood charcoal from Mexico and again found 32 packages of cocaine in the tires of that trailer. The drugs weighed 80.33 pounds and had an estimated street value of $619,480.
CBP seized the cocaine and the vehicles while special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations took over both investigations.
“I commend the officers for their keen observational skills and interviewing techniques which played a key role in both discoveries,” Flores said.
On May 25, CBP officers zeroed in on a white Chevrolet SUV that arrived from Mexico at the Hidalgo International Bridge in Hidalgo, Texas.
Officers referred the SUV, occupied by two Mexican men, a 36-year-old driver and a 30-year-old passenger, for a secondary inspection.
Utilizing non-intrusive inspection equipment and physically inspecting the vehicle, officers discovered 29 packages of cocaine weighing 74.82 pounds hidden within the SUV.
“Our CBP officers continue to rely on their experience and all available tools and resources to thwart smuggling attempts at our ports of entry,” said Carlos Rodriguez, port director of the Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry.
CBP arrested both men and seized the vehicle and the cocaine, worth $576,900. HSI is investigating the case.
Between May 26-27, CBP officers in Brownsville, Texas, used the non-intrusive inspection system and drug-sniffing dogs to intercept two loads of cocaine and one load of meth with a combined estimated street value of $1,069,619, and they arrested one U.S. citizen in each of those smuggling attempts.
On May 26, a 25-year-old woman from Brownsville attempted to smuggle 13.49 pounds of cocaine through Gateway International Bridge.
On May 27, a 35-year-old man from Brownsville had 59.34 pounds of cocaine when he tried to cross the Los Indios International Bridge.
On May 26, a 22-year-old woman from San Benito, Texas, had 25.39 pounds of methamphetamine when she attempted to cross the Gateway International Bridge.
“Our CBP officers’ vigilance and attention to detail led to these significant drug seizures,” said Tater Ortiz, the port director for the Brownsville Port of Entry.
CBP officers seized the narcotics and the vehicles — two Ford trucks and a Volkswagen. HSI took custody of all three suspects.