Border Patrol Agents Thwart Smuggling Attempt and Seize Drugs and Firearm
LAS CRUCES, N.M. – Over the weekend, U.S. Border Patrol Agents arrest three United States citizens attempting to smuggle illicit drugs, a loaded weapon, and undocumented foreign nationals through immigration checkpoints in southern New Mexico and west Texas.
On August 12, 2017, at approximately 9 p.m. U.S. Border Patrol Agents from the Las Cruces Station Las Cruces Station assigned to the Interstate 10 immigration checkpoint encountered a suspicious vehicle bearing New Mexico registration. The vehicle was referred to secondary inspection where agents discovered that three of the five occupants were undocumented foreign nationals. Two of the subjects were identified as citizens of Guatemala and one was an unaccompanied juvenile from Mexico. The driver, a U.S. citizen, was found to be in possession of cocaine. A subsequent search of the vehicle resulted in the discovery of a loaded shotgun.
The three undocumented foreign nationals were processed as per Border Patrol guidelines. The two Guatemalan subjects are awaiting removal proceedings and the United States citizens, the driver and passenger, were turned over to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and are pending criminal prosecution. The juvenile was processed and returned to Mexico.
On August 13, 2017, Border Patrol Agents from the Ysleta Station assigned to the Highway 62/180 immigration checkpoint received an alert on a 1995 Acura with Texas license plates. The alert notified agents the car had been reported stolen out of Amarillo, Texas.
Agents directed the driver, a 32 year-old U.S. citizen, to the secondary area for further investigation. A canine search of the vehicle revealed 100 cellophane wrapped bundles of a green leafy substance, which tested positive to the properties of marijuana and had a final estimated weight of 106 pounds valued at approximately $85,000. The contraband was concealed within a speaker box, the door panels and behind the rear seat.
The U. S. Drug Enforcement Administration was contacted and took custody of the driver and the contraband pending criminal prosecution.
These type of incidents are clear indicators of why Border Patrol Agents must rapidly respond to smuggling situations, which in some cases, can endanger human lives. Border Patrol Agents utilize various detection methods, technology and skills in order to increase the quality of life in our communities.