Presidio Port of Entry seized firearm, ammo, drugs

PRESIDIO — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations officers working at the Presidio Port of Entry made three separate seizures within a three-day span, beginning last Thursday.

Port officers conducted a southbound operation on October 24 and encountered a 2003 Ford Expedition driven by a 20-year-old U.S. citizen. Upon inspection of the vehicle, officers discovered 6,380 rounds of various caliber ammunition hidden in the rear quarter panels and underneath the seats of the vehicle.

The driver of the vehicle smuggling the ammunition was turned over to and arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement HSI agents to face federal smuggling charges.

An outbound operation the following morning led to the inspection of a 2003 Chevrolet Wagon Sport driven by a 49-year-old legal permanent resident. Officers discovered an undeclared automatic weapon hidden in the rear quarter panel of the vehicle. CBP officers seized the 9mm handgun, 34 rounds of ammunition and the vehicle.

However, CBP reports there was no arrest made during this encounter. “When we have an enforcement action, we present it to U.S. Homeland Security Investigations.

They initiate an investigation and based upon whatever information they generate they present their evidence to the U.S. attorney’s office.” It is ultimately that office that decides whether or not to prosecute.

The third seizure occurred the afternoon of October 26 when a 45-year-old Mexican citizen driving a 2004 Chevrolet pick-up truck applied for entry. An officer requested a canine inspection, resulting in an alert around the fuel tank. The vehicle was driven through an x-ray system where officers noticed anomalies in the bed of the truck.

Dismantling of the truck bed revealed 135 silver-taped bundles weighing 145 pounds whose contents tested positive for the properties of marijuana. This driver was also handed over to authorities to face smuggling charges.

“Although the main goal of CBP is to protect the United States from terrorists and prevent terrorists from making entry into the United States, our officers are highly trained in the detection and interception of drugs, weapons and ammunition along our ports of entry,” stated acting Port Director Alejandro Leos.