Agents make large drug bust Monday night

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - 8:12pm

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at the El Paso port of entry seized 437 pounds of marijuana Monday night. The estimated street value of the seized marijuana is $350,000.

“This is a large quantity of drugs to be concealed in a single vehicle,” said Hector Mancha, CBP El Paso Port Director. “This is a significant loss for a drug trafficking organization. I commend our officers again for their vigilance.”

The seizure occurred at approximately 5:30 p.m. at the Paso Del Norte international crossing when a 1999 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck arrived from Mexico. A CBP drug sniffing dog alerted to the undercarriage of the truck during a secondary exam. A “Buster” density meter also provided CBP officers with high readings consistent with concealed contraband. CBP officers continued their investigation and located 258 marijuana-filled bundles hidden in the bed and cabin of the pickup.

CBP officers took custody of the driver, 30-year-old Julio Cesar Portillo Lopez of Chihuahua City, Chihuahua, Mexico. He was turned over to and arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement HSI agents in connection with the failed smuggling attempt. He is currently detained at the El Paso County jail without bond.

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