SANTA TERESA, New Mexico – Drugs are not the only contraband smugglers try to sneak across the border. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers discovered nearly 400 pounds of bologna hidden in a pickup truck.
People regularly try to smuggle the Mexican lunch meat into the U.S. for relatives to resell to customers who have a craving for baloney from south of the border.
The driver stashed the 35 rolls of the popular “Chimex” brand boloney behind the seat of his 2003 Dodge Ram pickup truck.
“This seizure really stands out because when we seize bologna it is usually a small quantity, or at most a roll or two,” said Grace Gomez, Santa Teresa Port Director for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The Santa Teresa border crossing is about 13 miles west of El Paso.
According to CBP officials, Friday's bologna bust is the largest in the El Paso area since officers seized 81 rolls weighing 756 pounds at an international bridge in 2003.
“This is a prohibited product because it is made from pork and has the potential for introducing foreign animal diseases to the U.S. pork industry, “said Gomez.
Authorities say Mexican bologna is sometimes resold in other parts of the country at deli counters in small grocery stores that cater to immigrants or on the black market. This batch of baloney was not refrigerated and also could have posed a health risk for consumers.
The man who tried to sneak the baloney across the border in his truck is a 33-year-old resident of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. He was fined $1,000 and released. The contraband bologna was seized by CBP and destroyed.