EDINBURG - Over the past five days U.S. Border Patrol agents from the Rio Grande Valley Sector seized more than 7 tons of marijuana.

Agents assigned to the Rio Grande City Station seized one of the largest loads Tuesday near Escobares, Texas. The agents were working near the Rio Grande when they saw several smugglers walk north from the river and begin to load large bundles of marijuana into a Ford Expedition. The agents immediately identified themselves, at which time the smugglers fled into thick brush and the driver of the Expedition sped away. A helicopter from the office of Air and Marine followed the vehicle for a short distance until the driver abandoned it - leaving behind more than 1,400 pounds of marijuana.

Rio Grande City Station agents made another large seizure Thursday near Escobares when they saw several people carrying bundles away from the river. When the smugglers saw the agents approaching, they fled into the thick brush - abandoning more than 900 pounds of marijuana.

Additional seizures from Sunday through Thursday brought the total amount of marijuana confiscated to more than 14,000 pounds. The marijuana has an estimated value of more than $11.4 million and was turned over to the appropriate agencies for further investigation.