El Paso area CBP officers find drugs and more during busy week

EL PASO, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at El Paso area ports of entry made recorded multiple enforcement actions during the last week. They made 24 drug seizures, apprehended 25 wanted individuals, seized weapons and ammunition, and recoded multiple agriculture violations during the period. 

“Homeland security is our principal mission but the work being performed at area ports results in significant enforcement activity touching upon a wide variety of violations,” said CBP El Paso Director Field Operations Hector A. Mancha. “The bottom line is that all this work is making our community safer.”

Bridge of the Americas fentanyl seizure.

Bridge of the Americas fentanyl seizure.

On April 11, CBP officers working at the Bridge of the Americas international crossing seized 153 grams of fentanyl after a 45-year-old female U.S. citizen entered the U.S. from Mexico through the pedestrian lanes. CBP officers selected the traveler for a secondary exam during which a CBP drug sniffing dog alerted to the presence of drugs. The fentanyl-filled bundle was internally concealed and recovered. 

On April 13, CBP officers working at the Paso Del Norte international crossing seized 22.8 pounds of methamphetamine. The seizure was made while CBP officers were conducting an enforcement operation in the lanes of traffic just south of the primary inspection booths. CBP officers discovered bundles within the quarter panels of a Nissan Altima being driven by a 26-year-old female Mexican citizen. A CBP drug sniffing dog alerted to the presence of drugs and an Z-Portal (x-ray) scan confirmed the presence of packages in the vehicle.

Ammunition seized by CBP officers.

Ammunition seized by CBP officers.

CBP officers seized two handguns and almost 3,800 rounds of ammunition during the week. The largest seizure occurred April 12, when CBP officers performing outbound operations at the Bridge of the Americas seized 3,650 rounds of ammunition concealed in the trunk of a vehicle being driven by a 39-year-old Mexican female. The seizure included 2,000 rounds of .9 mm, 150 rounds of .357, 1,000 rounds of .40 and .22 rounds ammunition. The driver was returned to Mexico and the investigation is continuing.

CBP officers encountered 25 National Crime Information Center fugitives being sought by law enforcement. The most significant arrest occurred April 8 at the Ysleta port of entry when CBP officers encountered 21-year-old U.S. citizen Maximiliano Sandoval Muniz entering the U.S. from Mexico through the pedestrian lanes. A system query confirmed that he was being sought by the Fort Worth police department on a homicide charge. He was taken into custody and turned over to the El Paso police department to face extradition. An additional 24 NCIC arrests were made for crimes such as assault, alien smuggling, drug charges money laundering and DUI. 

CBP agriculture specialist also administered $3,375 in penalties against 17 individuals who were encountered transporting prohibited agriculture products into the U.S. from Mexico. Seized items included pork, chorizo, eggs, tomatoes, peppers, mangos, apples, avocados, and live plants. Members of the public are reminded to declare all products acquired abroad to CBP upon entry. If an item is declared and found to be prohibited it can generally be abandoned with no consequence or penalty. 

Subjects arrested by CBP officers were turned over to federal/state authorities for prosecution.

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