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Customs officers seize 225 pounds of narcotics at Texas-Mexico border

Narcotics

EL PASO, Texas — Customs officers seized 225 pounds of narcotics, including fentanyl, methamphetamine and cocaine, at the border between western Texas and Mexico.

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According to a news release from U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Tuesday, customs officers conducting inspections at the Ysleta Port of Entry in El Paso intercepted the narcotics during four inspections.

The first occurred on Feb. 6, when customs officials encountered a 44-year-old woman who was a Mexican citizen entering the United States.

During a primary inspection, officers discovered bundles inside the trunk of the vehicle. A secondary inspection ensued with canine screening and a non-intrusive X-ray exam, the release stated.

The search resulted in 16.5 pounds of cocaine.

Three days later, another Mexican citizen, a 24-year-old woman, was referred for a secondary inspection, according to the news release. Canine and X-ray screening led officers to discover “multiple bundles” inside the vehicle that contained 40.03 pounds of fentanyl and 41.13 pounds of methamphetamine.

Several minutes later, a 34-year-old man -- also a Mexican citizen -- was found to possess narcotics that were found during a primary inspection, the CBP said. Officers seized 2.51 pounds of fentanyl pills, 2.86 pounds of powdered fentanyl and 5.2 pounds of methamphetamine, the release stated.

Hours later a 20-year-old U.S. citizen was referred for a secondary screening. Officers located bales containing 117.65 pounds of marijuana in the trunk of the man’s vehicle, the CBP said.

Hours later, CBP officers encountered a 20-year-old male, U.S. citizen who arrived via the vehicle lanes. The individual was referred for a secondary inspection of the vehicle which included screening by a CBP canine and non-intrusive exam. Bales containing 117.65 pounds of marijuana-filled packages were located in the vehicle’s truck.

Three of the suspects were attempting to enter the country through vehicle lanes. The fourth person -- the 24-year-old suspect -- had been enrolled in the Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection program who arrived through the checkpoint’s Dedicated Commuter Lane, according to the news release.

“The SENTRI lane is a trusted traveler program,” Arnie Gomez, the port director at the Ysela Port of Entry, said in a statement. “That said, it is not a free pass, CBP officers will trust but also verify that users are not compromising the trust we have placed upon them.”

All four suspects were turned over to Homeland Security Investigations and/or Texas Department of Public Safety agents for prosecution.

“These seizures show that the smuggling threat remains high and that CBP officers remain focused on stopping any type of drug that criminals are trying to cross through our ports of entry,” Gomez said.