El Paso, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Paso Del Norte international crossing at the El Paso port of entry seized 74 pounds of marijuana Saturday. The drugs were hidden in a car being driven by a woman traveling with her children.
“Smugglers will utilize any method they can think of to try to defeat the CBP inspection process including using family units as a way to blend in with legitimate traffic,” said CBP El Paso Port Director Hector Mancha. “CBP officers remain vigilant and their attention to detail resulted in this drug discovery being made.”
The seizure was made just after 8 a.m. when a Mercury Villager van entered the port from Mexico. CBP officers were performing an operation checking vehicles that were waiting in line when they encountered the vehicle. The driver of the vehicle appeared nervous and CBP drug sniffing dog “Cesar” alerted to the van. CBP officers located drugs inside the panels of the van. They removed a total of 69 drug-filled packages from the vehicle with a weight of 74 pounds. The estimated street value of the seized contraband is $59,200.
CBP officers took custody of the driver, 37-year-old Alejandra Chavira De Paz, of Chihuahua City, Chihuahua, Mexico. She was arrested by HSI special agents to face federal charges in connection with the failed smuggling attempt. The children, ages 8, 12, 13 were turned over to the custody of an 18-year-old adult child and released.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers’ primary mission is anti-terrorism; they screen all people, vehicles, and goods entering the United States, while facilitating the flow of legitimate trade and travel into and out of the United States. Their mission also includes carrying out traditional border-related responsibilities, including narcotics interdiction, enforcing immigration law, protecting the nation’s food supply and agriculture industry from pests and diseases, and enforcing trade laws.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) 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.