SANTA TERESA, N.M. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Santa Teresa port of entry seized 500 pounds of marijuana earlier this week. The estimated street value of the seized contraband is $400,000.
“This was one of the most intricately concealed drugs loads we have seen,” said Ray Provencio, CBP Santa Teresa Port Director. “Smugglers spared no expense in making this shipment appear to be legitimate in an effort to defeat the CBP inspection process.”
The seizure was made April 1 after a tractor-trailer hauling a shipment of what appeared to be large hydraulic lifts arrived from Mexico a day earlier. CBP officers working at the port of entry selected the shipment for an intensive examination. During the exam CBP officers drilled the metal hydraulic lifts and produced a green substance which tested positive for marijuana. CBP officers continued their exam and removed a total of 40 metal cylinders which were concealed inside the metal tubing of the phony hydraulic lifts. The individual cylinders were opened producing 500 pounds of tightly compressed marijuana.
“Every effort was made to create a drug smuggling product that appeared to be real and deflect suspicion,” said Provencio. “I commend our CBP officers to taking the steps necessary to identify and stop this drug load.”
CBP officers arrested the driver of the truck, 49-year-old Juan Bartsch Dueck of Cuautemoc, Chihuahua, Mexico. He was turned over to U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration 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.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.