El Paso, TX (KTSM) — A 19-year-old El Paso man is in custody today after Customs and Border Protection Officers and U.S. Border Patrol agents allege he attempted to smuggle almost one million dollars worth of cocaine over the Ysleta Port of entry Tuesday morning.
CBP Agents say 19-year-old Erick Marquez entered the U.S. from Mexico at 9:00 a.m. Tuesday morning, driving a 2004 Ford Explorer Sport Trac. A CBP drug sniffing dog named Doky alerted agents to the vehicle. When officers searched the vehicle, they noted several discrepancies and asked Marquez to proceed to a secondary screening area.
The Explorer was scanned with a Z-Portal x-ray system which showed images consistent with hidden contraband in the bed of the truck. CBP Officers drilled the suspected area and discovered white powder which tested positive for cocaine.
CBP were able to eventually remove twelve cocaine filled bundles from the compartment. Marquez was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement HSI special agents to face charges associated with the failed smuggling attempt.
The total amount of the cocaine seizure was 29.95 pounds of cocaine with an estimated street value of $958,400. In addition to the cocaine seizure, CBP officers also seized 246 pounds of marijuana in three separate busts, made one fugitive apprehension, recovered a stolen vehicle and recorded one export violation.