Customs & Border Protection Intercept $14.6 Million In Drugs, Child Smuggler, Gang Member On Texas Border

For anyone to understand whether there are actual drugs, smuggling, human trafficking, illegal immigrant crossings or gang activity is a problem or political bloviation, we need the numbers and facts…

By, Corridor Staff

Below you will find new information reported drug, smuggling, human trafficking and illegal crossings that have occurred either on the Texas border and ports over the week of June 19 – June 26, 2018.

As you read below, you may come to understand the issues on the U.S. and Mexico border are not a simple problem to be fixed by the current border security policies out of D.C.

It has been recently published by many media outlets that the drug, smuggling, human trafficking and illegal crossings have been consistently dropping over the last couple of years.

U.S. citizens are given inconsistent information on illegal crossings and criminal activity that is happening on the Mexico and U.S. border.

For anyone to understand whether drug, smuggling, human trafficking, illegal immigrant crossings or gang activity is a problem or political bloviation, we need the numbers and facts.

Texas isn’t the only state that shares a border with Mexico. So as you read the weekly report below, remember this information is only what is occurring on the Texas-Mexico border and Texas ports.

We gathered the information below directly from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which is under the purview of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

As for the accuracy of the information we have provided to you, we can only decipher the information that is released to us. Therefore the number of incidents, arrests, types of narcotics, weight and street value is considered the minimum amount…

Below you can find the totals of illegal crossing arrests, including their nationality & drug seizures including pounds, type of drug and “street value” total. Additionally, you will find a link to view last week’s totals.

All people apprehended by the Border Patrol undergo criminal history checks using biometrics to ensure their criminal histories are positively identified. To report suspicious activity such as alien and/or drug smuggling, contact their website at http://www.cbp.gov. Or follow them on Twitter at @CBPRGV.

The public is encouraged to take a stand against crime in their communities and to help save lives by reporting suspicious activity at 1-800-863-9382.

Read related border coverage:

 

 


Week of June 19 – June 26, 2018

Texas Border Reported Arrests/Apprehensions with Nationality Totals    

US Citizen: 3
Honduras, El Salvador Honduras, Mexico Nationality not given: 98

Juveniles:
 3
Gang Member (18th Street): 1
Deceased: 2

Weekly Combined Totals: 107


Texas Weekly Drug Total Seizures & Estimated Street Price

NOTE: The totals are an estimate. U.S. dollar and weight in pounds used.

The map above is from an article published on May 3, 2018 in WIKILEAF. We used the pricing from above to calculate the estimated street value of Marijuana. *NOTE: The map from WIKILEAF shows the estimated price for 1 ounce of marijuana is $247.50 for street value. Therefore the estimated price for 1 lb. is calculated at $3,960.

 

Heroine

° 12.61 lbs.
° $504,412

Methamphetamine

° 168.98 lbs.
°
$3,699,862

Crystal Methamphetamine / Cocaine (combined total by CBP)

° 281 lbs.
° $5,607,236

Marijuana

° 1,226 lbs.
° $4,854,960

Weekly Drug Weight Total:
1,688.59 lbs.

Estimated Street Value:
$14,666,470 Million


Smugglers continue to push people and narcotics in the Rio Grande Valley

Release Date: June 26, 2018
Border Patrol agents stop smuggling attempts at the Sarita checkpoint
Photo by CBP

EDINBURG, Texas – U.S. Border Patrol agents stopped several smuggling attempts throughout the Rio Grande Valley this weekend.

On June 24, agents working the Sarita Checkpoint referred a United States citizen driving a tractor trailer to secondary inspection as a result of a K-9 alert.

Upon further inspection, agents discovered an illegal alien underneath the sleeper compartment and 31 bundles of marijuana weighing over 230 pounds along with five pounds of cocaine hidden in the cab.

Later in the evening, Falfurrias agents working checkpoint operations referred a United States Citizen driving a tractor trailer hauling several vehicles to secondary inspection. Agents discovered 18 illegal aliens within three of the vehicles in transit.  

In all, agents detected 11 narcotic and 17 alien smuggling attempts, resulting in the seizure of 1,226 pounds of marijuana, the arrest of 22 smugglers and the discovery of 49 smuggled aliens in just three days.

The Rio Grande Valley Sector currently has multiple campaigns focused on rescues and danger awareness, such as “Operation Big Rig” and “No Se Arriesgue” to combat smuggling and ultimately save lives. Call 911 to report suspicious activity; “They’re humans, not cargo!”   

Please visit www.cbp.gov to view additional news releases and other information pertaining to Customs and Border Protection. Follow us on Twitter at @CBPRGV.


CBP Officers at Laredo Port of Entry Seize $700K in Liquid Methamphetamine

*ARRESTS/APPREHENSIONS NOT SPECIFIED

Release Date: June 26, 2018

LAREDO, Texas—U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations (OFO) CBP officers at Laredo Port of Entry recently seized a significant load of alleged liquid methamphetamine with a street value in excess of $700,000.

 “CBP officers continue to maintain keen vigilance while examining all modes of arriving traffic and the effective application of technology and experience led to this significant seizure of liquid methamphetamine,” said Port Director Alberto Flores, Laredo Port of Entry.

The seizure occurred on Saturday, June 23, when CBP officers at the Juarez-Lincoln Bridge referred a 2002 Motor Coaches International commercial bus for a secondary examination. Further examination utilizing a non-intrusive imaging system resulted in the discovery of 50 pounds of liquid methamphetamine concealed within six aloe vera bottles. The methamphetamine has an estimated street value of $700,621.

CBP seized the narcotics and referred the case for further investigation by Homeland Security Investigations special agents.

For more information about CBP, please click on the attached link.


Border Patrol discovers two deceased and rescues three in the Rio Grande Valley

*NATIONALITY NOT SPECIFIED

Release Date: June 26, 2018

EDINBURG, Texas – During the past week, Rio Grande Valley Sector (RGV) agents rescued three illegal aliens in distress and discovered two deceased.

On June 19, an agent patrolling the border near Peñitas, Texas discovered a deceased male in the Rio Grande riverbank. The Palmview Fire Department responded to retrieve the body.

On Friday, June 22, an agent assigned to the RGV Special Operations Detachment (SOD) came across skeletal remains near Falfurrias, Texas. The Brooks County Sheriff’s Office responded and took custody of the decedent.

Yesterday, RGV SOD agents encountered an unresponsive man near Falfurrias, Texas and immediately requested medical assistance. The agents transported the man to an accessible point on the highway to facilitate the ambulance arrival. The ambulance transported the man to a local hospital.

Later in the afternoon, agents assigned to the Falfurrias station responded to a 911 call regarding two illegal aliens claiming to be lost. Agents, assisted by an Air and Marine Operations helicopter, located the two men near Encino, Texas. Both men stated they were in good health and declined medical attention.

The Rio Grande Valley Sector currently has multiple campaigns focused on rescues and danger awareness, such as “Operation Big Rig” and “No Se Arriesgue” to combat smuggling and ultimately save lives.

Please visit www.cbp.gov to view additional news releases and other information pertaining to Customs and Border Protection. Follow us at @CBPRGV.


Child smuggler arrested in the Rio Grande Valley

Release Date: June 26, 2018

FALFURRIAS, Texas – U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested a woman attempting to smuggle an unaccompaniedAgents foil child smuggler at checkpoint child past the checkpoint.

On Saturday, June 23, agents assigned to the Falfurrias Checkpoint referred a 2013 Dodge Durango to the secondary inspection area to further inspect documents presented. The driver, a United States citizen, claimed the documents were birth certificates for both of her children in the vehicle.

It was later discovered that one of the children, an eight year old Honduran national, is an undocumented alien who was not related to the driver, or the other child. The driver was placed under arrest.

“It is truly concerning when a child is encountered unaccompanied in the hands of a smuggler,” said Chief Patrol Agent Manuel Padilla, Jr. “It is equally frustrating when a smuggler uses their juvenile child as an accessory to commit such a crime.”

This case is currently under investigation.

The Rio Grande Valley Sector currently has multiple campaigns focused on rescues and danger awareness, such as “Operation Big Rig” and “No Se Arriesgue” to combat smuggling and ultimately save lives.


Border Patrol Agents Arrest 6 Criminal Aliens including a Convicted Murderer and Gang Members over the Weekend

Release Date: June 25, 2018

WASHINGTON – U.S. Customs and Border Protection made six significant arrests, including MS-13 and 18th Street gang members and a convicted murderer, along U.S. borders over three days. The arrests, made by U.S. Border Patrol agents, took place across the United States, from Vermont to the California coast.

“Human smuggling is a violent criminal enterprise that puts the safety of our communities and our country at risk,” said U.S. Border Patrol Acting Deputy Chief Scott A. Luck. “Attacking this problem is a top Department of Homeland Security priority. We are committed to using the wealth of resources, technology and expertise at our disposal not only to disrupt the current activity, but to identify and dismantle the criminal organizations behind it.”

In Fiscal Year 2018 through the end of May, Border Patrol agents have arrested 5,000 people with criminal records who have attempted to enter the United States illegally. Additionally, Border Patrol agents have arrested more than 505 criminal gang members to include Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), 18th Street gang and Mexican Mafia.

On June 22, Border Patrol agents arrested a Mexican national near El Centro, California who was convicted of child molestation and a suspected MS-13 gang member near McAllen, Texas. Both were referred for prosecution and removal.

A Peruvian national and a Mexican national were apprehended on June 23 near Averill, Vermont. Record checks revealed that both subjects were previously deported. The Mexican national admitted to being a member of the 18th Street gang. Both individuals were processed for prosecution and removal.

On June 24, an El Salvadoran national who verbally admitted to being an active 18th Street gang member was arrested by Border Patrol agents near Rio Grande City, Texas. The subject was processed for prosecution and removal.  

That same day, a Mexican national, who was previously convicted of murder and served 32 years in prison, was apprehended near San Ysidro, California. The individual will be processed for prosecution and removal. Lastly, an El Salvadoran national, who admitted to being a MS-13 gang member, was arrested by Border Patrol agents near Three Points, Arizona.

Border Patrol agents were able to identify their criminal histories and gang affiliation by a search of CBP and FBI biometric databases.

The databases provide rapid identification of individuals with outstanding criminal warrants by electronically comparing a live-scanned fingerprint against a nationwide database of biometrically indexed fingerprints.


Eagle Pass Border Patrol Agents Rescue Pregnant Woman From Rio Grande River

Release Date: June 25, 2018

EAGLE PASS, Texas– U.S. Border Patrol agents rescued a pregnant woman who became stranded on an island in the Rio Grande River due to high water levels and strong currents.

“The Rio Grande River can be a dangerous force of nature. Due to the watchfulness of our agents, a potentially life-threatening emergency was avoided on Sunday in Eagle Pass,” said Del Rio Sector Chief Patrol Agent Felix Chavez. “I am very proud of everyone involved in this latest rescue.”

On June 24, agents assigned to the Eagle Pass Station Boat Unit were patrolling the Rio Grande River near the Eagle Pass Port of Entry, Bridge No. 2, when they saw a woman stranded on a small island, waving to get the agents’ attention. She was trying to cross over from Mexico and make her way into the United States. However, unusually swift and strong currents made the river impassable.

The woman, who is pregnant and a Honduran national, did not request or require any medical assistance. Because she had no legal status in the United States, she was transported to the Eagle Pass South Station for processing, pursuant to current guidelines and turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

The Del Rio Border Patrol Sector is part of the Joint Task Force-West South Texas Corridor, which leverages federal, state and local resources to combat transnational criminal organizations.

To report suspicious activity call the Del Rio Sector’s toll free number at 866-511-8727.


CBP Officers at Laredo Port of Entry in 48 Hours Apprehend Two Travelers on Warrants for Sex-related Offenses Against Children

Release Date: June 22, 2018

LAREDO, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Field Operations officers at the Laredo Port of Entry during a recent 48-hour period apprehended two travelers with pending felony warrants regarding sex-related offenses against children in separate incidents.    

“CBP officers play a critical role safeguarding the border at our ports of entry and the back to back apprehensions of these two individuals on active warrants for sex-related assault charges involving child victims illustrates our steadfast commitment to CBP’s border security mission,” said Port Director Alberto Flores, Laredo Port of Entry.

The most recent apprehension occurred on Thursday, June 21, at the Juarez-Lincoln Bridge. CBP officers conducted a primary examination on a male bus passenger arriving from Mexico and referred him to secondary for further inspection due to a possible match to an outstanding warrant.

CBP officers conducted a fingerprint check and utilizing national law enforcement databases confirmed his identity as 44-year-old Jose Natividad Betancourt, a United States citizen from Houston, Texas, wanted in Ft. Bend County on outstanding felony warrants for aggravated sexual assault, indecency with a child. CBP officers transported Betancourt to Webb County jail for adjudication of the warrant.

On June 20, CBP officers at the same bridge referred a 1998 Chevy Trailblazer for a secondary examination due to a possible match of passenger Norberto Lopez Hurtado, a 45-year-old Texas lawful permanent resident, to an outstanding warrant.

Further examination using biometric verification and national law enforcement database checks confirmed his identity and also confirmed that he was the subject of an outstanding felony warrant from Gillespie County of Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child, Victim Under 14. CBP officers transported Lopez Hurtado to Webb County jail for adjudication of the warrant.

Charges and allegations contained in criminal complaints are merely accusations. Defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


U.S. Border Patrol Agents Rescue Immigrants

Release Date: June 22, 2018

EL PASO, Texas — A group of four illegal aliens are safe thanks to the efforts of U.S. Border Patrol Agents and their life saving training.

Just after midnight Wednesday, U.S. Border Patrol camera operators were watching a group of seven people illegally cross into the United States near downtown El Paso.

The group then entered the American Canal, approximately three miles east of the Bridge of the Americas Port of Entry. Due to strong undercurrents, the canal system represents the biggest danger that immigrants face when attempting to enter the U.S. illegally in the El Paso area.  

U.S. Border Patrol agents responded to the area and saw three people climb out of the south side of the canal and run back into Mexico. The remaining four subjects were left behind and struggled to stay afloat. 

Agents instinctively sprang into action, and due to their training and  strong sense of team effort, they managed to pull the four people from the canal utilizing rescue ropes. While these types of situations can typically lead to deadly consequences, this story ended with no loss of life.

All four of the illegal crossers were assessed for health concerns, but none required further medical attention. The subjects were then taken in to custody to be processed accordingly.

The group was comprised of three adult males and one juvenile, all from Mexico.  The three adults will be facing criminal prosecution while the juvenile will be repatriated to Mexico with assistance from Mexican Government officials.   

During fiscal year 2018, U.S. Border Patrol Agents in the El Paso Sector have rescued 25 immigrants in distress, and have witnessed zero immigrant deaths. In fiscal year 2017, eight illegal crossers have lost their lives in these same treacherous waterways.


Laredo Sector Border Patrol Agents Intercept 41 bundles Containing Methamphetamine at Checkpoint

Release Date: June 21, 2018

LAREDO, Texas– On June 20, Border Patrol agents from the Laredo Sector Border Patrol seized nearly 25.92 pounds of methamphetamine with an estimated value of more than $829,440.00 dollars.

Border Patrol agents assigned to the Border Patrol Checkpoint on Interstate Highway 35 encountered a Toyota Sienna van at the primary inspection lane. As the driver was being questioned of their immigration status, a service canine alerted to the van, subsequently referring the driver to secondary for further inspection. 

While at secondary, agents conducted a closer and thorough inspection of the car, successively finding 41 bundles concealed throughout the vehicle. 

All bundles were removed from the car and tested positive for methamphetamine. The narcotics, vehicle, and driver were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.  

“The vigilance of the men and women of the United States Border Patrol in disrupting the flow of narcotics attests to our commitment in keeping America and its communities safe,” said Laredo Sector Acting Deputy Chief Patrol Agent Anthony S. Good.


Knock and Talk Yields Seven Illegal Aliens in Stash House

*WEIGHT & DOLLAR AMOUNT NOT SPECIFIED

Release Date:  June 21, 2018

LAREDO, Texas – On June 19, Border Patrol Agents in coordination with Laredo Police Department, apprehended seven illegal aliens and several bundles of marijuana from a stash house on San Jacinto Court in Laredo, Texas.

The incident transpired after Border Patrol Agents developed information of an illegal alien smuggling operation occurring at the residence.

In a joint effort, the Laredo Police Department and the U.S. Border Patrol conducted a knock and talk and discovered seven illegal aliens and two bundles of marijuana. The illegal aliens were men from the country of Mexico. 

On scene, a Border Patrol Emergency Medical Technician evaluated and treated a man in need of medical attention and referred him to a local hospital for further treatment. All of the men were processed accordingly. 

“The cooperation between the Border Patrol and our local law enforcement partners has continued to prove to be positive and fruitful in disrupting and degrading criminal organizations that constantly put people’s lives in danger. With the assistance of local law enforcement officials, we will continue to help those who are subjected to these terrible situations while also protecting the nation from these organizations,” said Laredo Sector Acting Deputy Chief Patrol Agent Anthony S. Good.


CBP Officers at the Hidalgo International Bridge Seize Methamphetamine Valued at Over $2.7 Million

Release Date:  June 19, 2018

HIDALGO, Texas—U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations (OFO) at the Hidalgo International Bridge seized alleged methamphetamine valued at $2,723,122.

“This was a remarkable interception of hard narcotics. I applaud our CBP officers for their continued dedication to the CBP mission,” said Port Director Carlos Rodriguez, Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry.

The seizure occurred on June 17 at the Hidalgo International Bridge after CBP officers referred a white 2006 Ford Lobo pickup truck to secondary for an enforcement inspection.

A 46-year-old male Mexican citizen from Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico drove the vehicle. After a physical inspection and the use a non-intrusive imaging (NII) system along with the help of a canine team, CBP officers discovered 24 packages containing 136.16 pounds of alleged methamphetamine.

CBP OFO seized the narcotics along with the vehicle, arrested the driver and turned him over to the custody of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents for further investigation.

For more information about CBP, please click on the attached link.


CBP Officers at the Laredo Port of Entry Seize More Than $4.2 Million in Liquid Methamphetamine

Release Date: June 20, 2018

LAREDO, Texas –U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers recently seized a significant amount of alleged crystal methamphetamine with an estimated street value of more than $4.2 million in one enforcement action at the Gateway to the Americas International Bridge.

“CBP has numerous layers of enforcement and our officers will go above and beyond to keep these illicit drugs from entering our country and affecting our community,” said Port Director Albert Flores, Laredo Port of Entry. “This seizure demonstrates how the officers’ determination, utilization of technology and canines led to the discovery of this hard narcotic.”

On Monday, June 18, CBP officers assigned to the Gateway to the Americas International Bridge referred a 2009 Volkswagen SUV, driven by a 21-year-old United States citizen who resides in Roswell, Georgia to secondary for an intensive inspection.

CBP officers conducted a thorough secondary examination, utilizing canine units and the non-intrusive inspection system to locate the hidden narcotics. A total of 213 pounds of alleged liquid methamphetamine was discovered within the vehicle.

 The seized narcotics have an estimated street value of $4,269,869.

 CBP officers seized the narcotics and the vehicle. The driver was arrested and the case was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents.

 For more information about CBP, please click on the attached link.


CBP Officers at Laredo Port of Entry Remain Vigilant As They Seize Over $636K in Hard Narcotics

Release Date: June 19, 2018

LAREDO, Texas—U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations (OFO) CBP officers at Laredo Port of Entry recently seized a significant amount of hard narcotics worth more than $636,000 in two enforcement actions over the weekend.

“Our CBP officers’ knowledge of concealment methods and the technology they utilize on a daily basis played a key role in the discovery,” said Port Director Alberto Flores, Laredo Port of Entry. “I commend our CBP officers for a job well done in keeping these dangerous narcotics off our streets.”

The first seizure occurred on Friday, June 15, when a CBP officer at the Colombia-Solidarity Bridge referred a 2014 Nissan Pathfinder, driven by a 66-year-old male Mexican citizen who resides in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico for a secondary inspection.

Upon a non-intrusive and physical inspection by a CBP officer, a total of 15 packages containing 36 pounds of alleged cocaine were discovered within the vehicle.

The last seizure occurred on Saturday, June 16, when a CBP officers assigned to the Juarez-Lincoln International Bridge referred a 2016 Nissan Versa, driven by a 31-year-old male Mexican citizen who also resides on Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico for a secondary inspection.

Upon a non-intrusive inspection of the vehicle by CBP officers, a total of seven packages containing 18 pounds of alleged crystal methamphetamine were discovered.

The narcotics have a combined estimated street value of $636,476.

CBP seized the narcotics and the vehicles. The drivers were arrested and the cases were turned over to Homeland Security Investigations special agents.


CBP Field Operations Seizes Over Half a Million of Heroin Concealed Within a Commercial Trailer

*NATIONALITY NOT SPECIFIED

Release Date: June 19, 2018

PHARR, Texas—U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations (OFO) at the Pharr International Bridge cargo facility discovered alleged heroin valued at $504,412 concealed within a commercial trailer.

“As smugglers continue with their efforts to introduce illegal narcotics into the United States, our officers’ vigilance, perseverance and dedication in keeping our borders secure resulted in this substantial narcotic seizure,” said Port Director Carlos Rodriguez, Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry.

 The seizure occurred on June 15, when CBP officers assigned to the Pharr International Bridge cargo facility encountered a 1995 Kenworth tractor-trailer.

CBP officers utilized a non-intrusive imaging (NII) system along with the help of a canine team to locate the narcotics. CBP officers extracted six packages containing a total of 12.61 pounds of alleged heroin concealed within the commercial trailer.

CBP OFO seized the drugs, the case remains under investigation by Homeland Security Investigations special agents.


Border Patrol Agents Find Abandoned Methamphetamine Near Rio Grande River

Release Date: June 20, 2018

EAGLE PASS, Texas – Border Patrol agents assigned to Eagle Pass Station found a backpack containing 4.6 pounds of methamphetamine near a residential area. This the second time in less than a week agents have discovered abandoned narcotics.

“The drug cartels, in their attempt to bring contraband to the United States, use any method to achieve their purpose,” said Del Rio Sector Chief Patrol Agent Felix Chavez. “In this case, the smugglers abandoned the contraband near homes where children and families live, but our agents’ rapid response prevented a potential tragedy. This dangerous substance will not reach the streets and will not harm the general public.”

On June 19, agents assigned to the Eagle Pass Station, were responding to illegal activity north of downtown when they spotted foot prints going toward the Rio Grande River.

After an extensive search, agents discovered the backpack containing two packages of suspected narcotics, wrapped in black tape and cellophane.

At Eagle Pass Station, agents identified the substance as methamphetamine with an estimated street value of $147,200.  The drugs were turned over to the custody of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The most recent discovery of abandoned narcotics happened June 16 when agents discovered an abandoned backpack along the banks of the Rio Grande River, which contained approximately 6.9 pounds of methamphetamine.

The Del Rio Border Patrol Sector is part of the Joint Task Force-West South Texas Corridor, which leverages Federal, state and local resources to combat transnational criminal organizations.


 

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