U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Laredo Port of Entry on Thursday seized two loads of cocaine valued at nearly $1 million, one from a Free and Secure Trade (FAST) driver, in two separate enforcement actions.
The larger of the two seizures occurred shortly after 1 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 27 at the World Trade Bridge cargo lot, when CBP officers referred a 2000 Freightliner tractor from the FAST lane driven by a 38-year-old Mexican citizen from Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico for additional screening.
CBP officers conducted an examination of the tractor, which was hauling a shipment of auto parts, and discovered nine bundles hidden within the tractor cab. The bundles contained a total of 25.5 pounds of alleged cocaine which had an estimated street value of $817,085.
The second seizure occurred about six hours later at the same bridge. CBP officers referred a 1994 Freightliner tractor driven by a 25-year-old Mexican citizen from Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico for a secondary examination. During the examination, officers discovered a bundle containing 2.3 pounds of alleged cocaine hidden within the tractor. The cocaine has an estimated street value of $74,880.
CBP officers turned both drivers over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations special agents for further investigation.
“These two significant seizures of hard narcotics within the World Trade Bridge import lot illustrates the drug threat our officers face with all modes of transportation,” said Sidney Aki, CBP Port Director, Laredo. “The discovery of a cocaine load within the FAST lane underscores the need to trust, but verify in order to monitor and ensure full compliance with our trusted trader programs.”