EL PASO, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Ysleta port of entry Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection (SENTRI) lane seized 27.4 pounds of cocaine the evening Jan. 6. One man was arrested in the case.

Drug bundles in engine compartment. (credit: U.S. Customs & Border Protection)

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“Use of the SENTRI lane is a privilege. Nevertheless sometimes we encounter an individual who attempts to circumvent the process,” said CBP Ysleta Port Director Arnie Gomez. “This is why we trust but verify that users are not violating the confidence that has been bestowed upon them.”

The seizure was made just after 8 p.m. when a 2016 Toyota Sienna entered the port from Mexico. A drug sniffing dog searched the minivan and alerted to the presence of narcotics.

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CBP officers then conducted a non-intrusive Z-Portal x-ray scan and physical inspection of the vehicle. The efforts resulted in the discovery of multiple bundles hidden within the engine compartment of the van.

The minivan’s driver, a 28-year-old U.S. citizen was arrested. He was turned over to Homeland Security Investigation to face charges in connection with the failed smuggling attempt.

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SENTRI is a program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. Participants may enter the United States by using dedicated primary lanes into the United States at Southern land border ports. Travelers must be pre-approved for the SENTRI program. All applicants undergo a background check and in-person interview before enrollment.

CBSDFW.com Staff