Gregorio Rosas Escuedero arrested with 21,947 lbs of marijuana

The Department of Homeland Security today announced that the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have seized a 21,947-pound load of marijuana in Texas, arrested one individual, and executed a federal search warrant in Ohio in connection with the foiled marijuana smuggling effort.

The seizure, which was made by CBP inspectors in Laredo, Texas on July 11, is one of the largest single loads of marijuana seized along the Southwest border in recent years. Shortly after the seizure, ICE agents arrested the individual who drove the load. Earlier today, ICE agents executed a federal search warrant on a business in Columbus, Ohio, as part of the ongoing investigation into those responsible for the marijuana shipment.

"This case is a good example of how the diverse capabilities of several agencies are best organized under one department of government," said Asa Hutchinson, Under Secretary for Border and Transportation Security in the Department of Homeland Security. "CBP used its risk analysis and non-interim jurisdiction capabilities to find these illegal drugs, then simultaneously handed them off to ICE to use its assets to attempt the delivery of the drugs hundreds of miles away from the border."

"The magnitude of this seizure illustrates the role that U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspectors play in protecting the American public from any item that may cause them harm, be it illegal drugs or terrorist weapons," said Robert C. Bonner, Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. "Anti-Terrorism remains our first priority, but drug seizures remain an important and traditional mission. This seizure was the result of Customs and Border Protection inspectors being alert and using automated targeting to identify this shipment of drugs."

"This seizure and the ongoing investigation demonstrate the effectiveness of Homeland Security's combined resources. ICE special agents are working hand-in-hand with CBP inspectors and other law enforcement agencies to identify, investigate, and, ultimately, arrest those responsible for importing this enormous marijuana shipment,"said Michael J. Garcia, Assistant Secretary for ICE.

The marijuana seizure was made at approximately 1:30 P.M on July 11, when a commercial conveyance entered the Laredo Port of Entry from Mexico. CBP inspectors targeted the truck for an intensive inspection because a pre-arrival analysis of data in the CBP Automated Targeting System and documentation supporting the shipment generated suspicion. The driver was directed to the CBP mobile truck gamma-ray system, but instead tried to leave the facility. CBP inspectors stopped the truck at the exit gate and escorted the vehicle to the x-ray unit.

CBP inspectors scanned the 18-wheeler and identified an anomaly within the merchandise. The tractor-trailer was moved to the contraband enforcement team dock for an intensive examination. As the trailer was being unloaded, inspectors discovered bundles wrapped in plastic cellophane packed inside the boxes. CBP Inspectors probed one bundle, revealing a green leafy substance, which field-tested positive for marijuana. CBP drug-sniffing dog "Sassy" searched the contents of the trailer and confirmed the presence of narcotics. A total of 1,292 marijuana-filled bundles were discovered.

Immediately after the seizure, ICE agents arrested the driver, Gregorio Rosas-Escuedero of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, on federal drug charges. ICE agents then began an intensive investigation to identify all those responsible for the importation of the marijuana.

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