Border Patrol Intercepts $1.5 Million in Marijuana
LORDSBURG, New Mexico – Agents in New Mexico and west Texas were successful this week in derailing attempts to smuggle marijuana after they arrested four suspected smugglers and seized over $1.5 million in marijuana using various technology.
Shortly after 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 14, Border Patrol agents working in southwestern New Mexico were alerted to possible illicit activity by sensors in the area. Agents responded to the sensor activity in this remote area, also known as the “boot-heel” of New Mexico. Historically the area has often been used by smugglers to transport illicit contraband. With agents on high alert, a search of the area began, and CBP Air and Marine Operations (AMO) assistance was called in.
After a brief search of the area, agents located a Ford F-250 pickup coming from the direction of the suspected activity. As the vehicle headed north on Country Road 1 (CR1), an AMO helicopter pilot sighted the truck as it continued north. Realizing that law enforcement was closing in, the alleged smugglers turned their truck around and attempted to make their way back to Mexico. Agents on the ground quickly arrived at the scene, and by using a “controlled tire deflation device”, they disabled the vehicle.
The two individuals who were inside the vehicle were later identified as Jose Vara Perez and Jesus Salcedo Ramirez, both citizens of Mexico. They attempted to flee on foot, but were unable to evade arrest due to the presence of the AMO helicopter. A search of the vehicle led to the discovery of 1,814 pounds of marijuana, with an estimated street value of $1,451,000. The suspected smugglers, the vehicle, and contraband were transported to the Lordsburg Border Patrol Station for processing. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was notified of the seizure and took custody of the individuals and the marijuana.
Early Tuesday morning, while performing surveillance duties, agents assigned to the Clint Border Patrol Station agents observed two individuals carrying large backpacks just west of the Tornillo Port of Entry. After briefly losing sight of the individuals, agents began the long standing tradition of tracking the suspects through the desert terrain.
For five minutes, Agents on all-terrain vehicles along with the bike unit assisted in tracking the smuggler’s footprints through the desert. As the agents began to close in on the individuals, both of the smugglers laid down in an attempt to conceal themselves in the desert brush to avoid apprehension.
It was discovered that the two backpacks contained a total of 115 pounds of marijuana, valued at $92,000.00. The individuals were identified as 36-year-old Jorge Arturo Rodriguez Rodriguez from Mexico, and 31-year-old Felix Cecilio Rodriguez Rodriguez also from Mexico. The subjects and the illegal drugs were taken into custody by the DEA in El Paso and are pending prosecution.
These incidents demonstrate how vigilance by U.S. Border Patrol agents along with the use of sign-cutting tactics and training aids in combating the furtherance of illicit drugs into our community, while keeping our nation’s borders safe.
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.