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More than $1 million worth of heroin seized at border crossing
By: Jesse Martinez
EL PASO, Texas -- About $1.1 million worth of heroin that was stashed inside a vehicle's hidden compartment was seized at an El Paso border crossing Saturday afternoon, officials said.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Ysleta port of entry were performing an enforcement sweep on vehicles that were waiting in line for the primary inspection booths, officials said.
Wizard the drug-sniffing dog alerted officers to an SUV, and after scanning the vehicle with an X-ray, officers noticed something out of the ordinary, officials said.
Several bundles containing heroin were wrapped in cellophane and stashed above the SUV's fuel tank, officials said. The drugs weighed a total of 35.5 pounds and have an estimated street value of $1,136,000.
"This is an enormous seizure," said Hector Mancha, CBP El Paso port director. "CBP in El Paso, west Texas and New Mexico seized 60 pounds in all 2012 and 7 pounds in 2011, so taking 35 pounds in a single incident is huge."
The driver, Jesus Antonio Gonzalez, 21, of Ciudad Juarez, was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agents in connection to the failed drug-smuggling attempt.