ANTELOPE WELLS, New Mexico -- U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operation officers working at the Antelope Wells international crossing seized 156 pounds of marijuana Tuesday. The drugs were discovered in boxes of hollowed floor tile. Two Arizona men were arrested in the case.
“Smugglers spent a lot of time cutting tile, fabricating the marijuana-filled bundles to fit in the space they created, and then resealing the packages in an effort to thwart the CBP inspection process,” said Robert Reza, CBP Columbus Port Director.
The seizure was made at approximately 10:00 a.m. when a shuttle van arrived at the remote crossing located in far southwestern New Mexico. CBP officers initiated an exam and located sealed boxes of floor tile in the van and a trailer the vehicle was towing. CBP officers took a closer look at the boxes and discovered that they contained full sheets of tile on the top and bottom but cut pieces in between. The cut pieces created a void which was filled with bundles of marijuana. CBP officers removed a total 156 pounds of marijuana. The estimated street value of the seized contraband is $124,800.
CBP officers arrested the driver of the shuttle van and one passenger. The driver is identified as 45-year-old Jose Garcia Acevedo of Glendale, Arizona. The passenger is 54-year-old Benjamin Ortiz of Phoenix, Arizona. Both were turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations special agents to face charges associated with the failed smuggling attempt.
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.