Raleigh man arrested in huge heroin bust

EL PASO, Texas -- Border agents have made the single largest heroin seizure in recent years, arresting a North Carolina man in the process, a Customs and Border Protection spokesman said Tuesday.

Agents found 10.9 pounds of heroin in 14 bundles hidden in the dashboard of a 1994 Buick LeSabre during a routine search at a downtown El Paso port of entry Monday morning, CBP spokesman Roger Maier said.

Maier said the seizure is the largest in recent history and nearly matches the total amount of heroin seized in fiscal year 2005, when agents discovered 11.1 pounds of the powerful drug. Before Monday's seizure, agents had seized a total of 22 pounds of heroin so far this fiscal year, Maier said.

The driver of the car, 37-year-old Eliverto Piedra Rincon, a Mexican national living in Raleigh, N.C., was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.

Piedra is being held in the El Paso County jail on a federal charge related to the failed smuggling attempt. It was unclear Tuesday if he had hired an attorney.