LORDSBURG, NM – U.S. Border Patrol Agents (USBP) on the ground, along with CBP Air and Marine personnel worked together this week to track and locate two vehicles that were smuggling marijuana through dense terrain in the boot heel of New Mexico.
Shortly after midnight on Wednesday, Agents got an alert from border technology showing possible vehicle activity near the U.S. / Mexico border, west of the Antelope Wells Port of Entry. Agents discovered tire tracks crossing the border area and began tracking the vehicles through the Animas Valley. The search became extremely difficult due to the rugged terrain. Agents contacted air support from both Air and Marine Operations (AMO), El Paso Air Branch, and the New Mexico National Guard Counter Drug Support (CDS) to assist with the search. The agents remained persistent in pursuing the suspected border crossers over a span of seven hours. The combined effort by agents on the ground and partners in the air resulted in locating the suspected vehicles. The vehicles were found hidden in a wash and covered by tarps.
The suspects driving the vehicles fled the area before agents closed in. USBP Horse patrol units, specialized canine teams and USBP agents ultimately located and arrested three subjects from Mexico who were hiding in the area. Agents also seized a total of 3,610 pounds of marijuana, a 2006 Dodge Ram and 2014 Chevy Silverado several miles north of the initial illegal entry point.
The subjects, vehicles and contraband were transported to the Lordsburg Border Patrol Station for further examination and processing. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) was contacted, and special agents took custody of the three subjects pending criminal prosecution and further investigation. The marijuana will be stored in Lordsburg pending transportation to a CBP Seized Property and Evidence Facility.
These incidents demonstrate how dedication and vigilance by U.S. Border Patrol Agents and the ability to collaborate with other agencies increase the ability to secure our nation’s borders.