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CBP Officers Seize $85,600 in Marijuana at Brownsville Port of Entry


October 21, 2008

Brownsville, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers examining northbound traffic at the Brownsville port of entry over the weekend seized $85,600 in marijuana hidden in multiple locations in a SUV. The seizure occurred shortly after 10 p.m. on Saturday at the B&M Bridge. CBP officers referred a 2005 Chevy Tahoe driven by Claudia Espitia, a 30-year-old U.S. citizen from Houston for a secondary inspection.

During an intensive examination, CBP officers discovered a bundle hidden in the center console and discrepancies to the spare tire and the gas tank. CBP officers probed the spare tire and removed 15 packages. A CBP canine also alerted to the odor of narcotics emanating from the vehicle.

An intensive examination of the gas tank yielded 26 more packages. The packages field tested positive for marijuana. In all, CBP officers seized 42 packages containing a total of nearly 86 pounds of marijuana. The marijuana has an estimated street value of $85,600.

CBP officers arrested Espitia and turned her over to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agents who investigated the seizure and processed the driver on federal drug charges. The vehicle also was seized.

"Our frontline officers employed their inspection skill, experience and made effective use of our canines to zero-in on the contraband, which was found in multiple locations throughout the vehicle," said Michael Freeman, CBP port director in Brownsville.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

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