Customs agents find 30 kilos of cocaine

Customs agents find 30 kilos of cocaine

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Laredo port of entry this weekend stopped a narcotics smuggling attempt of cocaine valued at $1.2 million and arrested a man wanted for aggravated sexual assault in separate incidents.

On Saturday at approximately 3 p.m., CBP officers at the Gateway to the Americas Bridge referred for inspection a 2003 Dodge Ram pick-up truck, driven by Severa Martinez, a 34-year-old U.S. permanent resident from Blooming Grove, Texas. During the examination, CBP officers detected discrepancies to the engine area of the vehicle.

CBP canine "Erik" alerted to the odor of narcotics emanating from the same location of the truck as well. A scan of the truck revealed anomalies within the air vent system firewall. Upon further examination of the firewall of the truck and a closer visual inspection, CBP officers discovered what appeared to be brick-like bundles within a compartment.

A total of 30 bundles containing 38 pounds of cocaine were removed from the compartment. The cocaine has a street value of $1,216,000. CBP officers arrested the driver for federal drug violations and turned her over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agents who investigated the seizure. The driver's two children who were passengers in the truck were turned over to the custody of Child Protective Services. The vehicle was seized.

"A seemingly unique way of transporting dope through one of our ports of entry did not escape the trained eye of our frontline officers," said Gene Garza, CBP port director, Laredo. "Over a million dollars worth of drugs are confiscated as a result of keen observation. Good observational skills also resulted in the arrest of a wanted individual. Our officers continue to impress me with their skills."

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