El Paso CBP Seizes More than $5 Million Worth of Marijuana in the Last Week
Friday, 03 October 2008

El Paso, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working anti-terrorism operations at the Bridge of Americas commercial cargo crossing in El Paso seized more than 5,800 pounds of marijuana the past seven days.

The most recent seizure was 2,758 pounds of pot discovered in a false wall compartment of an empty sea container transported by truck from Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico yesterday. In addition to the previously described seizure, on Thursday, September 25, CBP officers intercepted more than 3,000 pounds of marijuana in a refrigerator trailer containing watermelons.

On Wednesday, at about 11:35 a.m. a GMC T-3 tractor arrived at primary inspection. The driver told CBP that he was hauling an empty container and had nothing to declare. The CBP officer noticed the driver displaying signs of nervousness so he performed a cursory inspection of the container. The tractor and empty sea container were then referred for an x-ray examination. The Vehicle and Cargo Inspection System confirmed anomalies at the front end of the container. CBP officers removed 182 packages of marijuana from the false compartment.

"This is the second significant seizure our officers have intercepted the past few days," said Ana Hinojosa, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, director of field operations in El Paso. "A layered enforcement strategy is very effective."

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agents arrested 31-year-old Rafael Jesus Zaragosa in connection with the failed smuggling attempt. Zaragosa is a Mexican national from Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection
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