DEMING, N.M – Alertness by Border Patrol Agents in Columbus, New Mexico was the key that led to the arrest of five suspected smugglers over the weekend and the seizure of more than $312,000 in marijuana.
On January 15th, Deming Station agents received an anonymous call about suspicious activity in an unoccupied residence in Columbus, N.M. As Agents approached the home, they noticed an unusual number of footprints leading toward the abandoned home. Agents knocked on the door and heard shuffling inside, and from the window could see several individuals attempting to hide underneath a blanket. Agents confronted them and began to ascertain their citizenship. Each person stated they were citizens of Mexico, and had entered the country illegally. All five subjects were taken into custody and transported to the Deming Border Patrol Station for further processing.
The next day, Agents returned to further investigate the home for possible human smuggling. As agents around the perimeter, a strong odor of marijuana was detected in a storage shed behind the house. Agents were able to look into the storage shed and found a large mound covered with a blanket surrounded by discarded belongings. Underneath the blanket were brown cellophane packages consistent with narcotics. They were gathered and taken to the Deming Border Patrol station. The contents inside the backpacks tested positive for marijuana and totaled 295.8 pounds, valued at $236,640. The contraband was turned over to DEA pending prosecution.
Another drug interdiction occurred on January 30th when Deming Border Patrol Agents on horseback came upon two burlap backpacks on the east side of the “Cedar Mountains” located south of Deming. Agents followed the footprints through the rugged terrain in the mountains and eventually came upon two suspected illegal subjects. Prior to reaching them, agents had noticed the backpacks had been hidden under a mesquite bush, which is consistent with methodology of abandoned narcotics. A thorough search was conducted of the area, but those tracks led back to Mexico. The backpacks were taken to the Deming Border Patrol Station and verified to be marijuana.
The total weight of that load is 94 pounds, valued at $75,520.00. The DEA was contacted and will take custody of the contraband.
These incidents demonstrate the resilience of Border Patrol Agents in stopping the furtherance of illicit drugs and contraband through local communities and outlying areas, while utilizing valuable technology and other resources in the performance of their duties.