Columbus, New Mexico - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at the Columbus port of entry seized 14.9 pounds of marijuana Wednesday. The drugs were concealed in a school backpack being carried by a 14-year-old boy.
"Forty percent of the marijuana seizures made at the Columbus port of entry this year have involved smugglers age 17 or younger," said CBP Columbus port director Robert Reza. "This number should be alarming to the parents of area teens because the consequences of this illegal activity can be severe and life altering."
The most recent case occurred at approximately 6:30 Wednesday morning when a 14-year-old boy from Palomas, Mexico, entered the facility as a pedestrian. A CBP officer at the primary inspection booth conducted an exam of the boy's backpack and spotted bundles commonly associated with drug smuggling. A total of 14 marijuana-filled bundles weighing 14.96 pounds were removed from the backpack. The teen and drugs were turned over to the Border Area Task Force for prosecution. In addition to the Wednesday bust CBP has recorded five additional juvenile drug smuggling cases at Columbus.
On March 26, CBP officers at the Columbus port seized 7.5 pounds of marijuana from a 16-year-old Palomas girl. The drugs were found in her backpack.
On March 22, CBP officers at the Columbus port seized 1 pound of marijuana from a 17-year-old Palomas boy. The drugs were taped to his leg.
On February 22, CBP officers at the Columbus port seized 14.9 pounds of marijuana from a 16-year-old Palomas girl. The drugs were found hidden in the seats of a car she was driving.
On February 7, CBP officers at the Columbus port seized 2.2 pounds of marijuana from a 14-year-old Palomas boy. The drugs were found in his backpack.
On January 29, CBP officers at the Columbus port seized 482.6 pounds of marijuana from a 16-year-old Deming boy. The drugs were found in the floor of a vehicle the boy was driving.
"We encourage parents to talk to their kids about the dangers associated with drug smuggling so they won't be tempted to join the ranks of those we've already arrested," said Reza.
While anti-terrorism is the primary mission of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the inspection process at the ports of entry associated with this mission results in impressive numbers of enforcement actions in all categories.