Laredo Sector Border Patrol agents assigned to an inland immigration checkpoint uncovered a load of drug and human cargo about 50 miles from the Texas-Mexico border.
Freer Station agents assigned to the U.S. Highway 59 immigration checkpoint observed a tractor-trailer approaching for inspection on May 25. Agents observed visible occupants in the tractor as the rig approached the checkpoint, according to information obtained from Laredo Sector Border Patrol officials.
Agents conducted an immigration interview of the occupants of the cab at the primary inspection station while a K-9 team inspected the trailer. The K-9 alerted to an odor it is trained to detect while inspecting the flatbed trailer. Agents directed the driver to move the rig to a secondary inspection station.
During the secondary inspection, agents found 11 large bundles of cocaine hidden in compartments of the flatbed trailer, officials reported. The cocaine weighed nearly 27 pounds. Officials estimated the value of the drugs at $848,320.
The agents determined the driver and passenger to be Mexican and Guatemalan nationals. Officials did not disclose the immigration status of the driver and passenger.
The agents turned the drugs and the foreign nationals over to the Duval County Sheriff’s Office for prosecution under Texas drug smuggling laws.
The inland Border Patrol checkpoints play a key role in interdicting drug and human cargo that is not caught at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Due to the massive number of migrant families crossing the border in record numbers, Border Patrol executives have been forced to shut down some inland inspection stations in order to move more resources to the border.
These closed immigration checkpoints are “green lights” for the cartels, according to Otero County, New Mexico, Sheriff David Black.
“It’s a green light for the cartels when border checkpoints are down,” the sheriff told the New York Post earlier this month. “I’ve had to redeploy my guys.” The sheriff said his department has seen a 1,600 percent increase in the seizure of drugs compared to January when the checkpoints were open.