CBP - U.S. Customs and Border Protection

08/23/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 08/23/2019 13:01

Border Patrol Agents Seize Cocaine at Immigration Checkpoint

EL PASO, Texas - U.S. Border Patrol agents at the Texas Highway 62/180 immigration checkpoint in El Paso, Texas, , seized almost six pounds of cocaine August 21.

Agents made the seizure while conducting a routine immigration inspection of a 2005 maroon Ford Expedition in the primary inspection area. While interviewing the driver, later identified as 32-year-old Raul Cortez of Odessa, Texas, agents noted his excessively nervous behavior. A CBP canine performed a non-intrusive sniff of the vehicle and immediately alerted to a smell that he is trained to detect, indicating the possible presence of narcotics.

Agents referred the vehicle to secondary inspection for a thorough search. They quickly located two plastic-wrapped bundles hidden within the rear quarter panels of the vehicle. This type of concealment is often used by narcotics smugglers.

The bundles contained almost six pounds of cocaine with a street value exceeding $190,000. A Border Patrol agent placed Cortez under arrest and read him his rights. The vehicle and contraband were seized and turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

'In Fiscal Year 2018, El Paso Sector seized more than $10 million in cocaine. This seizure is just one example of the type of illicit activity being disrupted by Border Patrol agents at our immigration checkpoints,', said Chief Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez. 'I'm extremely proud of our canine teams deployed throughout the sector who each day contribute to the safety and security of our border communities.'

U.S. Customs and Border Protection welcomes assistance from the community. Citizens are encouraged to report suspicious activity to the U.S. Border Patrol, while remaining anonymous by calling 1-800-635-2509 toll-free.

It is important to note that an arrest should not be considered evidence of guilt, and subjects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.