HOUSTON, Texas–Earlier this week Border Patrol agents in Laredo, Texas seized almost 1,500 pounds of marijuana from a vehicle disguised as an oil-field truck.
Agents were initially alerted of the vehicle–which was near a ranch in Encinal, Texas at the time–because it looked suspicious. It was apparently made to look like a vehicle belonging to a popular oilfield service company.
According to a press release from U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), when officials attempted to approach the truck it drove off the road and through a ranch gate. The vehicle was subsequently discovered about one-fourth mile into a ranch–by the time agents reached the truck, however, its driver was nowhere to be found.
Upon inspection of the vehicle Border Patrol agents discovered “bundles” of marijuana which were “wrapped in cellophane packaging,” according to CBP. 102 such bundles were ultimately confiscated from the truck.
The seized marijuana–which was turned into the DEA–weighed 1,451 pounds and had a street value of about $1.16 million.
Border Patrol spokesman Daniel Tirado of the Rio Grande Sector told Breitbart Texas that most of the larger drug seizures in his area are made from what appear to be commercial vehicles. But he was careful to point out, “Just because they’re commercial doesn’t mean that they’re transporting narcotics.” Tirado said officers rely heavily on canines to detect the odor of drugs.
Still, as some drug smugglers have perfected the art of “cloning” industry trucks, it is sometimes difficult for agents to pinpoint and pull over suspicious vehicles.
Breitbart Texas previously reported that Mexican drug smugglers are increasingly taking advantage of Texas’ oil and gas boom. A significant amount of gas and oil business is conducted on large, private ranches near the border. Increased traffic on roads that used to be remote may allow drug smugglers from Mexico to easily blend in and transport narcotics undetected.
Breitbart Texas Managing Director Brandon Darby previously spoke on how Texas’ oil boom can be a magnet for Mexican cartel activity. He said on West Texas’ radio station KFYO, “If people in Texas don’t think that affects them…we’re having an oil boom, so what happens when you have that kind of boom? You have girls, sex trade, and methamphetamine–so who moves in? Cartels move in, just like they have in other regions of the country. That is an oncoming problem that I don’t think anyone is reporting on.”
Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate.