Federal agents have seized almost 20 pounds of cocaine from a Mexican national trying to cross the border in Texas, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials announced Monday. The seizure of drugs took place on Sept. 15 at the Gateway International Bridge at Brownsville.

The suspect was identified only as a 24-year-old male citizen of Mexico who lives at Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico. Agents say he tried to smuggle the drugs into the United States in a white 2002 Toyota Avalon. The drugs were found during a secondary inspection of the vehicle. Agents reported finding eight packages of cocaine worth about $152,660 in the United States’ black market.

The suspect, the cocaine, and his vehicle were turned over to Homeland Security Investigation. The United States Customs Service became part of the Department of Homeland Security in 2003 as part of the reorganization of federal law enforcement agencies in the wake of the 2001 terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C.

Tons of cocaine

In 2012, the latest year for which complete statistics are provided, agents seized almost 6,000 pounds of cocaine. Agents patrol both the United States’ borders with Mexico and Canada. The same year, the department said, agents arrested 364,000 people who were trying to enter the United States illegally. The agents also confiscate illegal firearms, prevent entry of items containing insects and carry out more than 100 other laws relating to international traffic.

Border security

“This is yet another seizure where our officers’ keen observations and professional judgment yield results,” Port Director Petra Horne said in a prepared statement. “I thank our officers for their commitment and dedication to keeping our country secure.”

Agents stay busy

On a typical day, the CBP claims, it welcomes nearly one million visitors into the United States, screens more than 67,000 cargo containers, makes more than 1,100 arrests and seizes about six tons of Narcotics.

Agents patrol borders on foot, in vehicles, on horses, and on boats. The agency has more than 60,000 employees. The requested budget for 2016 was $13,6 billion.

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