U.S. Customs and Border Protection Press Release
Border Patrol agents from three stations in the Big Bend Sector seized a total of 2,011 lbs. of marijuana worth $1.6 million in five separate cases over a three day period. All of these cases involved groups of backpackers who were attempting to smuggle marijuana into the country by walking through desolate rugged terrain carrying about 50 lbs. of the contraband on their backs.
The Big Bend Sector is responsible for securing 510 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border. This area stretches from Hudspeth County in the west to the Terrell County-Val Verde County line in the east. Border Patrol agents rely heavily on their tracking skills to detect and apprehend those who try to enter the country illegally.
On Thursday, Border Patrol agents patrolling south of Van Horn were following foot tracks when they discovered four backpacks hidden in a dry creek. Agents apprehended two Mexican men who tried to run away from the area when agents arrived. 223 lbs. of marijuana and the two men were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration. Van Horn agents also discovered two abandoned backpacks containing 91 lbs. of marijuana near the Rio Grande River on the same day.
On Friday and Saturday, Sierra Blanca Border Patrol agents apprehended a total of 27 men with 26 marijuana backpacks in two separate cases. The total weight of both loads of marijuana was 1,243 lbs. Both seizures occurred in the Eagle Mountain Range south of Interstate 10 between Sierra Blanca and Van Horn. The Office of Air and Marine's Alpine Air Branch played a vital role in the apprehension of the subjects and marijuana. All of the men and the marijuana were turned over to the DEA and Homeland Security Investigations. All of the men were citizens of Mexico.
On Saturday, Sanderson Border Patrol agents seized eight backpacks with 454 lbs. of marijuana that had been staged for pick up along U.S. Highway 90 in eastern Terrell County. No suspects were apprehended in this case. The marijuana was turned over to the DEA from Eagle Pass.