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November 19, 09

NEWS / CBP Officers Seize $17.5 Million in Narcotics, Drugs Found in Commercial Shipments of Produce, Floor


Rio Grande City/Pharr, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Rio Grande City commercial cargo facility seized approximately 1,725 pounds of marijuana while officers at the Pharr commercial cargo facility seized close to 505 pounds of cocaine. The combined estimated street value of the drugs seized is $17.5 million.


On November 14, CBP officers working at the Rio Grande City, Texas commercial cargo facility came in contact with a northbound commercial shipment of floor tile. After the initial primary inspection, a CBP officer referred the 1992 Kenworth tractor pulling a Ferbus flatbed trailer and the commercial shipment of floor tile to secondary for further inspection. While in secondary, “Dusty”, a narcotic detector dog, alerted officers to the presence of drug odors emanating from the tile shipment.

A non-intrusive image scan revealed anomalies within the various crates of palletized tile. While conducting an intensive examination of the tile shipment, officers seized 136 marijuana packages that were found hidden within the tile crates. The estimated street value of the marijuana is close to $1.4 million. The driver, a 52-year-old Mexican citizen from Camargo, Tamaulipas, Mexico was not immediately arrested but U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agents continue to investigate this failed smuggling attempt. CBP officers seized the tractor trailer rig.


On November 15, CBP officers working at the Pharr, Texas commercial cargo facility came in contact with three northbound commercial shipments of produce. In all three shipments, CBP officers seized cocaine and the tractor-trailer rigs. In the first shipment, a commercial male driver, driving a 1997 Kenworth tractor and pulling 2000 V52RX utility trailer declared a load of fresh jalapeno peppers. After primary, the 61-year-old driver, a Mexican citizen from Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico, the tractor-trailer rig and the load of produce were referred to secondary for further inspection. In secondary, the tractor-trailer rig was referred for a non-intrusive image scan. X-ray images revealed anomalies within the trailer’s refrigeration unit. While conducting an intensive examination of the trailer, officers seized 67 cocaine packages, totaling close to 172 pounds that were found hidden within the refrigeration unit. The estimated street value of this shipment is $5.5 million.


In the second shipment, another commercial driver, driving a 1995 Freightliner and pulling a 1999 Wabash 4100T trailer declared a commercial shipment of mixed produce. After a primary inspection, the male driver, a 44-year-old Mexican citizen from Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico, the tractor trailer rig and the mixed produce shipment were referred to secondary for further inspection.


While in secondary, CBP agricultural specialist noted discrepancies to the trailer’s refrigeration unit. “Kenyon”, a narcotic detector dog, alerted officers to the presence of narcotic odors emanating from the front wall of the trailer. A non-intrusive image scan revealed anomalies within the trailer’s refrigeration unit. While conducting an intensive examination of the trailer, officers seized 65 cocaine packages, totaling close to 167 pounds that were found hidden within the trailer’s refrigeration unit. The estimated street value of the seized drug is approximately $5.3 million.

While the first and second cocaine enforcement actions were being processed, CBP officers came in contact with yet another northbound commercial shipment of produce. In this third shipment, a male driver, driving a 1993 International tractor and pulling a1997 Wabash utility trailer arrived at primary and declared a shipment of poblano peppers.


The 37-year-old Mexican citizen from Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico, the tractor-trailer rig and the produce shipment were referred to secondary for further inspection. While in secondary, “Rocky”, a narcotic detector dog, alerted officers to the presence of drug odors emanating from the trailer. A non-intrusive image scan revealed anomalies within the trailer’s front wall. Officers seized 65 cocaine packages, totaling close to 167 pounds that were also found hidden within the trailer’s refrigeration unit. The estimated street value of these drugs is approximately $5.3 million.


In all three cocaine seizures, the drivers were not immediately arrested but ICE special agents continue to investigate these failed smuggling attempts.


Leticia Moran, director of CBP Field Operations, Laredo Field Office, said, “For the Pharr cargo facility, this is the first instance where our frontline officers intercept three cocaine seizures back to back within an eight-hour period.” Moran further said, “For the Rio Grande City cargo facility, this is one of the largest marijuana seizures found concealed within a shipment of floor tile. I commend our frontline officers for a job well done.”

http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/newsroom/news_releases/11162009_8.xml

 




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