Authorities recently seized 354 pounds of methamphetamine hidden inside the bed of a pickup truck that crossed the border into the United States from Mexico. The drugs were found and collected by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Paso Del Norte international crossing, which connects El Paso in Texas and Ciudad Juárez in the Mexican state of Chihuahua.
The seizure happened at around 4 p.m. local time on Saturday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a news release issued Monday.
“This is an enormous seizure and demonstrates the need for CBP officers to remain vigilant at all times,” said Hector Mancha, the director of field operation at U.S. Customs and Border Protection El Paso, said in the release. “CBP officers utilized a variety of tools to identify and stop this smuggler.”
Customs and border protection officers were conducting what the agency called a “pre-primary enforcement operation” in an area slightly past the inspection booths on the Mexico side of the crossing when a drug sniffing dog encountered a Dodge Ram pickup truck and flagged the bed of the vehicle.
A 31-year-old Mexican woman was driving the truck, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Officers directed the vehicle to a secondary exam area and performed a Z portal X-Ray — an inspection system used for screening trucks — that “noted anomalies.”
They conducted a physical exam and discovered 161 bundles wrapped in foil and hidden in the bed liner of the Dodge Ram. The contents of the bundles tested positive for methamphetamine, and the 31-year-old driver was taken into custody by customs and border protection officers. They turned over the driver to the Texas Department of Public Safety, which will handle charges connected to the alleged smuggling attempt. Customs and border protection did not provide details about the charges.
Border patrol agents at different spots along the U.S.-Mexico border have in recent months thwarted other alleged smuggling attempts involving large quantities of illegal drugs.
In September, officers seized a 384 packages containing 870 pounds of methamphetamine at an entry port near Laredo, on the far eastern size of the Texas border,reported. The drugs were discovered inside a shipment of limes and had an estimated street value of more than $7.7 million.
Around El Paso, which is on the western size of the Texas-Mexico border, authorities said in 2021, that they encountered 802 pounds of methamphetamine throughout the fiscal year,reported, citing U.S. Customs and Border Protection. That figure represented a 133% increase in methamphetamine seizures compared with previous years.
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