January 14, 2014
Hidalgo/Mission, Texas — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the Hidalgo and Anzalduas International Bridges seized approximately $3,900,000 worth of cocaine and marijuana in three separate, unrelated incidents this weekend from two Reynosa,Tamaulipas, Mexico men and a woman from Edinburg, Texas. CBP officers also arrested a Pharr, Texas man who allegedly attempted to smuggle three minor children.
“This was a very productive weekend for our CBP officers working at two of our international bridges,” said Efrain Solis Jr., Port Director, Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas. “These interceptions of narcotics and of the alien smuggler illustrate the great commitment and perseverance instilled in our frontline officers towards the battle against illicit activities along the Southern border.”
The first incident occurred on Friday morning, January 10, after CBP officers working at the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge encountered a 51-year-old male Mexican citizen driving a Mexican based taxicab. The vehicle, a white 1997 Ford Crown Victoria, and all its occupants were referred to secondary for further inspection and it was there and with the use of a vehicle non-intrusive imaging system that officers discovered packages of suspected narcotics concealed within the Crown Victoria. Officers extracted 12 packages of alleged marijuana weighing approximately 19.38 kilograms (42.73 pounds) with an estimated street value of $43,000.
The second seizure occurred later the same morning at the Anzalduas-Reynosa International Bridge when CBP officers came in contact with a beige 2002 Ford Ranger driven by a 36-year-old male Mexican citizen. The driver and vehicle were referred to secondary for a more thorough inspection and during the course of the examination, officers discovered 19 packages of alleged cocaine weighing approximately 24.35 kilograms (53.68 pounds) with an estimated street value of $1,718,000.
Later that evening at the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge, a green 1997 Ford Expedition driven by a 36-year-old male United States citizen from Pharr arrived along with three minor children. The driver presented a State of Texas issued driver’s license and U.S. birth certificates for himself and the children. He claimed two of the children were his and the other was a niece. A CBP officer referred everyone to secondary for further inspection and document review and it was there that officers discovered that the three minors, ages 16, 14 and nine, were Mexican-born siblings and not related to the adult male traveler. Officers ascertained that the minors were born in Tabasco, Mexico and were not in possession of valid documents to legally enter or reside in the United States.
The last seizure/arrest occurred on Sunday evening, January 12 at the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge after CBP officers encountered a blue 2007 Mazda CX7 driven by a 28-year-old female United States citizen from Edinburg, Texas. The driver presented her State of Texas issued driver’s license and birth certificate and was referred to secondary for further inspection. In the process of the examination, officers discovered packages of alleged cocaine hidden within the CX7. Officers removed 26 packages weighing approximately 28.84 kilograms (65.38pounds) with an estimated street value of $2,100,000.
CBP seized all of the narcotics and vehicles involved in the failed drug smuggling attempts.
CBP arrested all violators, with the three involved in the failed narcotics attempts being released to the custody of Homeland Security Investigations agents for further investigation. The arrestee in the alleged child smuggling incident will be detained pending an appearance before a U.S. Federal Magistrate on criminal charges for alleged violation of U.S. immigration law. The three minors will released to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Refugee Resettlement facility where they’ll be temporarily housed.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection 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.