Border Patrol Nabs Teen with 23.7 lbs of Marijuana in Operation Stonegarden

Rojelio Valenzuela Serrano was detained with 23.7 lbs of marijuana at the border, highlighting the ongoing efforts of Operation Stonegarden.

Teen Arrested in Major Marijuana Smuggling Bust at Border

In a significant bust on Tuesday, July 9, 2024, Cameron County Sheriff’s Deputies, in collaboration with Border Patrol Agents, apprehended 18-year-old Rojelio Valenzuela Serrano. The young man was caught carrying a substantial quantity of marijuana as he attempted to cross the border illegally. This arrest underscores the effectiveness of Operation Stonegarden, an initiative designed to bolster border security through local and federal cooperation.

According to the Border Patrol Agents, Serrano was first spotted near the river levy early that morning. He was carrying a large, square-shaped bundle, conspicuously wrapped in brown tape, strapped to his back. The agents quickly recognized the bundle as a potential drug shipment. Upon realizing he had been spotted, Serrano attempted to flee but was swiftly apprehended.

The Arrest and Seizure

The Cameron County Sheriff’s Deputies took custody of Serrano and the marijuana he was transporting. The bundle was found to contain 23.7 pounds of marijuana, a substantial amount that carries severe legal implications. Serrano was subsequently transported to the Carrizales Rucker Detention Center in Olmito, Texas, where he was charged with possession of marijuana, weighing 23.7 lbs, a third-degree felony.

Sheriff’s Deputies reported that Serrano had crossed the river illegally, bringing with him the large bundle of marijuana. The interception of this smuggling attempt highlights the vigilance and cooperation between local law enforcement and federal agencies under Operation Stonegarden.

Operation Stonegarden’s Impact

Operation Stonegarden is a federal grant program that provides funding to enhance cooperation and coordination among Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and local, tribal, territorial, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. This program aims to improve overall border security and decrease illegal activities such as drug smuggling. The arrest of Serrano is a testament to the program’s success in increasing border security and curbing illegal drug trafficking.

Legal Consequences and Future Implications

The charge against Serrano is serious. Possession of marijuana, particularly in such large quantities, is classified as a third-degree felony. If convicted, Serrano could face significant prison time, fines, and a permanent mark on his record. This case serves as a stark reminder of the risks and severe consequences associated with drug smuggling.

Rojelio Valenzuela Serrano was detained with 23.7 lbs of marijuana at the border, highlighting the ongoing efforts of Operation Stonegarden.