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Mexican ‘loteros’ frustrated by situation at Tornillo Port of Entry

Tensions are high among the drivers and used car owners waiting to export nearly 3,000 vehicles into Mexico.

The cars are stuck north of Tornillo Port of Entry on the U.S. side of the border because of new regulations in Mexico limiting the amount of used cars that can imported into the country on a daily basis.

While El Paso County leaders look for a solution, the drivers (often called loteros in Mexico) feel trapped. Many told ABC-7 they’re just trying to make a living, proving one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

“This is a disaster, this car isn’t going to cross until Tuesday. It’s not fair,” said Zayda Alvarez. “There aren’t any bathrooms, there is no food, there is no water, there are no trees and there isn’t any shade!”

Alvarez is among the dozens of salesmen and drivers who sometimes have to spend the night in Tornillo while they wait for a chance to import their vehicles into Mexico.

Another used car salesman who spoke with ABC-7 is wondering why Mexico moved the customs office that deals with the importation of used cars from the Mexican side of the Santa Teresa Port of Entry to the Mexican side of the Tornillo Port of Entry.

“I go home and I come back early in the morning. I have to be here especially with all the changes,” the lotero said, adding he has heard of fellow loteros selling their place in the line for 120 dollars.

Joel Rivas said he’s been waiting three weeks, is confused about the new rules Mexico implemented, and is angry that the government isn’t letting him make a living.

“I have to come here to Tornillo just to move it,” Rivas said, “If not, then we’d have to pay someone or trust someone to do us the favor to move it, or we’d have to pay.”

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