Borderlands: Cash-stuffed pork barrels; deflated heavy-duty truck sales in Mexico

Borderlands is a weekly rundown of developments in the world of United States-Mexico cross-border trucking and trade. This week: Police find $3 million in barrels of pork headed for Mexico; Stabilis Energy opens new transportation hub in Mexico; sales of heavy-duty trucks and buses fell 45.7% in Mexico during November; UPS driver arrested for allegedly selling drugs using company truck.

North Carolina police find $3 million in barrels of pork headed for Mexico

Law enforcement in North Carolina found $3 million in a tractor-trailer hauling barrels of raw pork shoulders to Mexico.

The Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office alleged the money came from drug sales in the region.

“It’s one of the largest U.S. currency seizures in Cleveland County history,” Sheriff Alan Norman said in an interview with the Shelby Star.

Law enforcement stopped the tractor-trailer traveling southbound on Interstate 85 in North Carolina on Dec. 7. The driver was stopped for failure to maintain lane and impeding the flow of traffic.

During the stop, law enforcement became suspicious of the truck’s cargo when one of their K-9s appeared to detect something in the trailer, according to a Facebook post from the sheriff’s office.

A search found the money wrapped in plastic and tucked in multiple barrels of the raw pork in the trailer.

Image: Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office

The U.S. Department of Justice has been called in to help with the investigation, according to the sheriff’s office. The driver’s name was not released.

Stabilis Energy opens new LNG transportation hub in Northeastern Mexico

Houston-based Stabilis Energy announced the expansion of its Mexican liquefied natural gas (LNG) business by opening an LNG transportation hub in Colombia, Nuevo León, Mexico.

The hub, directly across the border from Laredo, Texas, will facilitate the delivery of up to 50,000 gallons of LNG per day by tanker trucks to customers in Northeastern Mexico.

The Stabilis liquefaction facility in George West, Texas, will supply the LNG. The transportation hub will increase supply security to Stabilis customers by reducing border crossing and related logistics risks.

“Stabilis is pleased to improve access to clean, inexpensive natural gas to customers throughout Northeastern Mexico,” Jim Reddinger, president and CEO of Stabilis, said in a release. “This transportation hub is our first step in building a reliable, cost-effective distributed natural gas network throughout Mexico.”

Sales of heavy-duty trucks and buses fell 45.7% in Mexico during November

The sale of buses, trucks and tractor-trailers fell 45.7% during November, compared to the same period in 2018.

It marks the fifth consecutive month that sales of tractor-trailers, trucks and buses have declined compared to the same period the previous year.

The statistics come from Mexico’s National Association of Bus, Truck and Tractor-Trailer Producers (ANPACT).

“The acquisition of new vehicles is slowing, and that worsens air quality because instead of having new technologies, more clean technologies, the fleet continues to age,” Miguel Elizalde, executive president of ANPACT, said in an interview with news outlet El Sol de Mexico.

UPS driver arrested for allegedly selling drugs using company truck

A UPS truck driver in El Paso, Texas, is accused of dealing drugs out of his delivery truck during work hours, according to the El Paso Times.

Armando Barron, 39, was arrested after an investigation discovered he was delivering illegal drugs while using his UPS work truck, El Paso County Sheriff’s Office officials said.

Acting on a tip, sheriff’s deputies began an investigation Oct. 17, officials said.

Investigators set up a sting that led to Barron’s arrest Dec. 5 after he “delivered controlled substances for sale while operating his UPS work truck.”