EL PASO, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized 35.5 pounds of heroin at the El Paso port of entry over the weekend.
The estimated street value of the heroin is $1,136,000.
"This is an enormous seizure," Hector Mancha, CBP El Paso Port Director, said in a statement. "CBP in El Paso, West Texas and New Mexico seized 60 pounds in all 2012 and seven pounds in 2011 so taking 35 pounds in a single incident is huge."
The seizure was made just before 4 p.m. Saturday when a 2000 GMC Jimmy entered the United States from Mexico at the Ysleta international crossing.
CBP officers were performing an enforcement sweep of vehicles waiting in line just south of the primary inspection booths when CBP drug sniffing dog "Wizard" alerted the officers to the vehicle.
CBP officers then did a secondary exam of the vehicle and noted discrepancies in the appearance of the SUV before they scanned the vehicle with a Z-Portal x-ray system and spotted anomalies in the fuel tank area.
CBP officers found a compartment above the fuel tank containing several cellophane wrapped bundles. The contents of the bundles tested positive for heroin.
CBP officer arrested the driver of the car, 21-year-old Jesus Antonio Gonzalez of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
He was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agents to face drug charges.