HIDALGO, TEXAS—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Office of Field Operations (OFO) officers at the Hidalgo International Bridge seized over $300,000 worth of cocaine from an Elgin, Texas man and arrested two females from Houston, Texas for alien smuggling this weekend.
On May 27, 2012 CBP officers at the Hidalgo/Reynosa International Bridge encountered a maroon 2004 Ford Explorer driven by a 20-year-old male United States citizen from Elgin, Texas. The driver presented his U.S. passport to the CBP officer and was referred to secondary for further inspection. In secondary officers discovered three packages weighing approximately 5.12 kilograms (11.29 pounds) of alleged cocaine which were hidden within the vehicle’s battery. CBP seized the cocaine that has an estimated street value of approximately $361,000 and the vehicle as well.
The adult male traveler was released to the custody of Homeland-Security Investigations (HSI) agents for further investigation.
On the same date and also at the Hidalgo International Bridge, a tan 2000 GMC Yukon arrived driven by an 31-year-old female United States citizen from Houston. The adult female driver presented a U.S. passport card for herself and State of Texas birth certificates for her alleged three minor children, ages 12, 6 and 3. An adult 18-year-old female passenger also from Houston presented a birth certificate from the state of North Carolina for herself and a U.S. birth certificate for her alleged 10-month-old female infant daughter. The vehicle and occupants were referred to secondary for further inspection and document review. In secondary CBP officers discovered that only two of the minor children were related to the adult female driver and were United States citizens. CBP revealed that the 12-year-old minor female and the 10-month-old female infant were not related to either adult female travelers and that they were citizens and nationals from Mexico without valid documents to enter or reside in the United States.
The two adult female travelers were incarcerated pending appearance before a U.S. Federal Magistrate on criminal charges for violation of U.S. immigration law. The two minor U.S. citizen children were released to the custody of an adult family member and the two Mexican national children, who were determined to be brothers, were released to the biological father who arrived to take custody and returned to Mexico together.
“This is the second battery load of hard narcotics we have discovered consecutively and kept from entering our community”, said Efrain Solis Jr., Port Director, Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas. “Our officers’ keen situational awareness has also uncovered yet another failed child smuggling attempt and allowed us to return innocent children back to their parents.”