Two arrested for smuggling a total of 65 kilos of cocaine

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Laredo, Texas port of entry seized 148 pounds of cocaine valued at $4.7 million dollars and arrested two men in two separate incidents over the weekend.

Friday at approximately 10 p.m. CBP officers at the Lincoln-Juarez Bridge referred a 2001 Dodge Ram 1500 pick-up truck, driven by Javier Armando Salinas, a 35-year-old U.S. citizen from Laredo, Texas for a secondary examination. A scan of the truck revealed anomalies within the toolbox behind the cab of the pickup.

CBP canine "Tramp" alerted to the odor of narcotics emanating from the same location. Upon further examination of the truck and a closer visual inspection of the vehicle's toolbox, CBP officers discovered clear plastic-wrapped bundles underneath a sheet of metal. A total of 25 bundles containing 56 pounds of cocaine were removed along with one bundle of crystal methamphetamine weighing 2 pounds from the compartment.

The cocaine has a street value of $1,792,000 and the crystal methamphetamine is valued at $30,000. CBP officers arrested the driver on federal drug violations and turned him over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agents who investigated the seizure. The truck also was seized.

The second incident occurred Saturday at approximately 5:30 p.m. at the Gateway to the Americas Bridge. CBP officers referred a 2007 Nissan Titan pick-up truck, driven by Edgar Martinez Saldivar, a 34-year-old Mexican citizen from Guadalupe, Nuevo Leon, Mexico for a secondary examination. During the examination, CBP officers detected discrepancies within the vehicle's gas tank.

Utilizing a fiber-optic scope to inspect the gas tank, CBP officers detected cellophane wrapped packages within the tank. CBP canine "Martin" alerted to the odor of narcotics emanating from the gas tank as well.

A total of 40 packages containing 92 pounds of cocaine were removed from within the gas tank. The cocaine has an estimated street value of $2.9 million. CBP officers arrested the driver on federal drug violations and turned him over to ICE special agents who investigated the seizure. The pick-up truck also was seized.

"Some people will just never learn that we have highly sophisticated technology and dedicated personnel manning the front door to the U.S." said Lupe Ramirez, CBP acting port director, Laredo "The two latter ingredients make for an incredible interdiction force at our ports of entry. I continue to be amazed at the work of our front line personnel. Job well done!"

Source: US Customs

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