COLUMBUS, N.M.—U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations officers working at the Columbus port of entry seized 177 pounds of marijuana Monday night. The estimated street value of the seized contraband is $141,600.
"Smugglers went to considerable lengths to conceal this drug load," said Columbus Port Director Robert Reza. "They fabricated metal collars which were filled with tightly compressed marijuana and then attached to the rims of the vehicle being driven across the border."
The seizure was made just before 6 p.m. when a 2001 Dodge Ram pickup arrived at the port from Mexico. CBP officers initiated an exam and selected the vehicle for a Z-Portal x-ray scan. The scan revealed images consistent with hidden contraband in the tires. CBP officers removed a total of 16 bundles of marijuana from specially constructed metal collars that were attached to rims of the vehicle. The drugs weighed 177 pounds.
The driver was taken into custody by CBP officers and then arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement HSI agents in connection with the failed smuggling attempt. He is 43-year-old Arnoldo Robles Gonzalez of Buenaventura, Chihuahua, Mexico.
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.