Smugglers caught with nearly five tons of marijuana in truckload

| 8/7/2008

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officials say a tractor-trailer load of marijuana was intercepted on its way into the U.S. from Mexico.

Border Patrol agents at the U.S. Highway 77 checkpoint near Sarita, TX, seized 9,651 pounds of pot on July 23, as residents and authorities in south Texas were preparing for Hurricane Dolly’s potential landfall.

As the driver of a tractor trailer was being questioned about his citizenship, a Border Patrol canine alerted agents to the presence of humans or drugs inside the back of the trailer. The driver was directed to a secondary inspection, which led to the discovery of 479 bundles of marijuana worth an estimated $7.7 million.

The drugs were buried under a load of cotton seed inside a tractor trailer.

The driver, a U.S. citizen, was arrested and taken into custody, the release stated.

“This incident serves to remind us all that narcotics traffickers and other criminal organizations will exploit events like hurricanes and storms to their advantage,” said Ronald Vitiello, chief patrol agent of the Rio Grande Valley Sector.