In a news release on Thursday, CBP said that Office of Field Operations (OFO) officers assigned to the World Trade Bridge had seized the drugs after one of them referred a 2001 Freightliner tractor-trailer manifesting polypropylene film for a secondary inspection.
A trained dog was then bought in for a non-intrusive inspection system examination, upon which officers discovered a total of 118.91 pounds of alleged cocaine within the trailer, officials said.
In total, the drugs have a combined street value of $1,587,777, CBP said.
The drugs were then seized, and Homeland Security Investigations special agents are investigating the matter.
“This is an excellent seizure by our officers working at the CBP cargo facilities. It’s a perfect example of their unfailing vigilance in guarding our nation’s borders and protecting lawful trade and travel,” said Port Director Albert Flores, Laredo Port of Entry.
Mother ‘Used Children to Mule Drugs’
The latest narcotics seizure comes after a New Mexico mother was charged with a federal drug crime on Nov. 22 after prosecutors accused her of hiding a deadly dose of fentanyl inside her children’s luggage before putting them on a flight to visit their father in Dallas, Texas.
In a news release, the Department of Justice said that Magdalena Silva Banuelos, 46, was indicted on the distribution of a controlled substance resulting in death.
According to court documents, Banuelos allegedly put her sons, ages 8 and 10, onto a flight from Albuquerque to Texas’s Dallas Love Field Airport to visit their dad and used her children to “mule drugs.”
A gram of fentanyl was allegedly concealed within a makeup container, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said that her on-again, off-again boyfriend, who is also the father to her two sons, then went through the luggage before entering a restroom in the airport and overdosing on the fentanyl, resulting in his death.
Banuelos faces a minimum of 20 years up to life in federal prison if found guilty.
Provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics suggest there were an estimated 107,622 drug overdose deaths in the United States in 2021, marking a 15 percent increase from 2020.
According to the data, overdose deaths involving opioids rose from an estimated 70,029 in 2020 to 80,816 in 2021, with overdose deaths from synthetic opioids—primarily fentanyl—as well as methamphetamine and cocaine also seeing an increase in 2021 compared to a year prior.
Of those, 24,538 were due to cocaine, up from 19,927 in 2020.