'Trusted' driver busted with $235,000 in cocaine at border

Trucking news and briefs for Oct. 12, 2023: 

Big cocaine seizure shows infiltration of border patrol 'Trusted Trader' program 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection at Pharr International Bridge on October 4 seized $253,000 in cocaine from a driver and shipment enrolled in CBP’s Trusted Trader Program, meant to strengthen security measures to stamp out terrorism and other illegal activities. 

“Our CBP officers continue to run checks and balances to keep our trusted trader participants honest and that vigilance and accountability testing resulted in a significant cocaine seizure and arrest,” said Port Director Carlos Rodriguez of the Hidalgo, Pharr, Anzalduas Port of Entry. “As the old adage says, 'trust, but verify.’' Narcotics infiltration into our trusted trader programs will absolutely not be tolerated.”

The seizure of 19 pounds of suspected cocaine occurred after a CBP officer referred a 2019 Freightliner tractor and trailer with a load of marble sinks for secondary inspection. The driver, a 33-year-old Mexican citizen, was also enrolled in the Free and Secure Trade program, and the company the driver was operating for participates in the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism program.

"Following a thorough examination that included use of a non-intrusive inspection system and canines, CBP officers discovered eight packages within the tractor containing a total of 19 pounds of alleged cocaine. The narcotics had a street value of $253,738," CBP wrote. 

CBP seized the narcotics and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents arrested the driver and initiated a criminal investigation, they wrote. 

[Related: Indiana police find 22 pounds of narcotics packed in sleeper during inspection]

ATBS to introduce new 'Hub' mobile-app/owner-operator portal

In 2020, owner-operator business services firm ATBS launched the first version of the ATBS mobile app. Now, after three years of user feedback, ATBS announced that in the coming months, clients of Overdrive's longtime content partner on the annual Partners in Business manual could expect a new app and client portal at ATBS.com before the end of the year. 

ATS hub previewThe new “ATBS Hub” will have an enhanced look and feel, as well as added functionality, both on the desktop and as a mobile app.

Partner Insights
Information to advance your business from industry suppliers
The ALL NEW Rand Tablet
Presented by Rand McNally
BlueParrott B350-XT
Presented by BlueParrott

Further details are expected in the coming weeks.

[Related: RigDig Trucking History Reports now part of Overdrive]      

'Best Fleets to Drive For' conference kicks off in April 2024

The "Best Fleets to Drive For" program announced a new education and awards conference scheduled for April 8-9, 2024, Charlotte, North Carolina, recognizing 2024 winners.  

NASCAR Hall of Fame imageThe event will be held at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, with educational opportunities as part of the program sharing insights from 2024 winners.

Now in its 16th year, Best Fleets to Drive For is an annual survey and contest identifying the best for-hire carriers large and small. Produced by CarriersEdge, a provider of online driver training, the program is open to all for-hire fleets operating 10 tractor-trailers or more in the U.S. or Canada. After being nominated by a driver or owner-operator, participating fleets are evaluated across a range of categories, including HR practices, operational strategy, professional development, and work-life balance. A comprehensive driver survey is included as well, with company responses and driver feedback compiled to identify the winners.

The 2024 winners and honorable mentions will be announced in January, but will also be recognized at the new conference in April, where two overall winners in “large” and “small” fleet categories will be named.

“Every year we collect a mountain of information through the Best Fleets evaluation process,” said Jane Jazrawy, CEO of CarriersEdge. “We’ve been conducting webinars and writing articles for years, but those can only scratch the surface of what we find in the data. With this event, we’ll have the opportunity to share a lot more details of what makes the winning fleets successful, and what other fleets can do to adopt those ideas.”

Registration is $299 per person and is open now. Nominations for the 2024 Best Fleets to Drive For are open through the end of the month here.