Border patrol officers at the Gateway to the Americas Bridge crossing in Laredo, Texas arrested women in two separate instances of high-level drug smuggling over the weekend.
On August 16, a border patrol officer referred a 2004 Ford F-150 for secondary imaging that detected anomalies in the vehicle. This led the border patrol agents to intensively examine the vehicle leading to the discovery of a 97-pound non-factory metal compartment which contained crystal meth estimated at $4.2 million. The 40-year old female driver from Dallas was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents.
On the previous day, a border patrol officer referred a 2010 Mini Cooper for examination. A K-9 officer alerted to the vehicle, and border patrol agents inspected the vehicle with a non-intrusive imaging system that revealed anomalies in the car. Upon further inspection, the agents then found 24 bundles containing 18 pounds of cocaine worth approximately $306,000. The driver was a Mexican woman from Tejupilco who was also turned over to HSI for further investigation.
The Laredo point of entry is the busiest commercial point of entry in North America and is located in one of the most significant drug smuggling corridors along the Mexican border. Mexican drug trafficking organizations take advantage of the high volume of cross-border traffic to smuggle drugs into the US. In addition, Laredo handles more rail traffic than other Southwest border point of entry, thus providing additional avenues for drug smugglers to cross into the US.
The vigilance of the Laredo border patrol agents is a key mechanism to thwart such traffickers as they try to smuggle drugs into the US.