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Customs seizes cocaine cache in SUV gas tank

This is one of the packages of cocaine seized in the fuel tank of an American trying to cross from Mexico into New Mexico at the Santa Teresa Port of Entry. PHOTO COURTESY CBP

This is one of the packages of cocaine seized in the fuel tank of an American trying to cross from Mexico into New Mexico at the Santa Teresa Port of Entry. PHOTO COURTESY CBP

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers say they have taken a 22-year-old American into custody after he tried to drive an SUV carrying 31.5 pounds of cocaine in its fuel tank through the Santa Teresa Port of Entry in southern New Mexico.

The drugs, confiscated Wednesday, would fetch about $1 million in street sales in the El Paso area, CBP spokesman Roger Maier said Thursday.

“That’s a good-size cocaine seizure. Typically what we confiscate are 10 pounds or less, usually strapped to a body of a person, a person’s lower back or thigh. But a 30-pound cocaine seizure, that’s a bunch,” he said.

Maier said the drugs were found wrapped in packages placed in the fuel tank. The driver, a man from El Paso, was arrested by Department of Homeland Security agents. Maier had no other details of the charges the man faces.

The seizure followed another drug confiscation on Tuesday in which Maier said 610 pounds of marijuana, valued at about $488,000, was seized from a hollow portion of machine being hauled on a flatbed trailer.

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