Fabens, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at the Fabens port of entry seized 754 pounds of marijuana Saturday. It was one of seven drug busts totaling 1,337 pounds made by area CBP officers this weekend.
“Smugglers left no void empty in sending this vehicle across the border,” said CBP Fabens Port Director Donna Sifford. “CBP officers removed drugs from no fewer than eight different locations in the pick-up truck.”
The seizure was made just after 9 a.m. when a 1998 Dodge Ram pickup entered the port from Mexico. A CBP officer interviewed the driver and then selected the vehicle for a secondary inspection after noting anomalies in the appearance of the vehicle. CBP drug sniffing dog “Eros” searched the truck and alerted to the presence of drugs. CBP officers used a fiber optic scope and spotted bundles in the fuel tank. An x-ray scan of the vehicle identified suspicious packaging in multiple locations. CBP officers continue their exam and removed marijuana-filled bundles from the gas tank, front and rear fenders, door, tailgate, dashboard, backset and spare tire. CBP officers removed a total 704 bundles weighing 754 pounds.
“This is a huge quantity to be hidden in a passenger vehicle,” said Sifford. “Rarely do we encounter this amount of contraband in a pick-up truck.”
CBP officers took custody of the driver, 38-year-old Maria Teresa Leos, of Clint, Texas. She was arrested by HSI special agents to face federal charges in connection with the failed smuggling attempt. She is currently being held without bond at the El Paso County Jail.
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.