Border patrol agents from the El Centro Sector Customs and Border Protection station in Southern California made headlines on the weekend of March 11th when they made two major drug busts and arrested a member of a prominent Mexican gang within a two-day span.
According to CBP officials, agents stopped a Greyhound bus on the highway in the late afternoon on March 11th and searched the vehicle with a canine team. The dogs helped agents find 1.74 pounds of heroin, valued at $20,880, underneath a bus seat where a 26-year-old man had been sitting. The man is being investigated by the Imperial County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force.
Just several hours later, CBP officials say agents found a Sureno gang member and arrested him on suspicion of illegally entering the country. The man, who officials say crossed the border 29 miles west of the Calexico West Port of Entry, was brought to Imperial County Jail where he is pending prosecution.
On March 12th, officials say agents made another major drug seizure, finding more than 29.68 pounds of methamphetamine beneath the rear-wheel doors of a Chevrolet with the help of a canine team. Officials stopped the car, driven by a 40-year-old Mexican woman, at a highway checkpoint. The drugs were valued at $296,000.
The United States Department of Homeland Security says in its Customs and Border Protection Strategic Plan for 2020 that transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) “control most cross-border trafficking of illegal drugs” and that detecting, interdicting, and disrupting illegal cross-border activities remain among the the U.S. Border Patrol’s main objectives. In addition to illegal drug trafficking, TCOs also traffic guns and may have involvement in human smuggling, says the Department.