Regional
2:17 pm
Thu November 19, 2009

68-Year-Old Woman Arrested For Drug Smuggling

El Paso – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at the El Paso port of entry seized 268 pounds of marijuana in four seizures Wednesday. In one case CBP officers arrested a 68-year-old Juarez woman who was driving a drug loaded car. A CBP drug sniffing dog helped lead CBP officers to the concealed drug load.

"Smugglers will use all types of people in their attempts to pass drug loads through the border ports," said CBP El Paso port director William Molaski. "What they fail to realize is that a CBP drug sniffing dog doesn't care how young, old or what gender the traveler is. The dog ignores all those variables smugglers sometimes employ and focuses only locating illegal drugs."

The seizure was made shortly after noon Wednesday at the Bridge of the Americas international crossing in El Paso. A CBP officer at the primary inspection booth selected a 1995 Ford Contour for a secondary inspection. During the exam, CBP drug sniffing dog "Frankie" searched the vehicle and alerted to the presence of drugs in the ceiling of the car (click here for photo). CBP officers searched the ceiling and located a secret compartment filled with tape-wrapped bundles (click here for photo) of marijuana. CBP officers removed a total of 40 bundles from the car weighing 45.2 pounds (click here for photo).

CBP officers arrested the driver of the car, 68-year-old Isela Rivera Puga of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, in connection with the failed smuggling attempt. She was turned over to the El Paso County Sheriff's office for local prosecution and is being detained at the El Paso County Jail.

CBP officers working at the El Paso port of entry made three additional drug seizures on Wednesday including one case where a female driver was arrested while transporting a load of drugs in a car that was also occupied by her father and son. CBP officers performing inspections at the El Paso port also identified 11 immigration related violations yesterday (six intended immigrants, three imposters, one human smuggler, one false claim to U.S. citizenship, and one entry without inspection). CBP officers also identified one fugitive and one agriculture violation while performing inspections at the El Paso port Wednesday.

The principal mission of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is anti-terrorism. CBP officers at border ports of entry and CBP agents at Border Patrol check points are committed to identifying and stopping terrorists and the tools of terror. As a result, border crossers should continue to expect a thorough inspection process when they enter the U.S. from Mexico.