COLUMBUS, N.M. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operation officers working at the Columbus port of entry made a 13.6 pound cocaine seizure Friday. The estimated street value of the seized contraband is $435,000.
“This is the first multi-pound cocaine load seized at the Columbus port of entry in more than four years,” said CBP Columbus Port Director Robert Reza. “We have made smaller personal use sized cocaine seizures over the years however the last large cocaine seizure at the port was in August 2010 when CBP officers intercepted a five-pound load.”
The seizure was made at approximately 6:00 a.m. when a 2003 Chevrolet Cavalier entered the port from Mexico. A CBP officer asked if the driver was transporting anything from Mexico. The driver told the CBP officer he was importing two boxes of joint cement.
The CBP officers noticed an anomaly in the appearance of the packaging and initiated an exam. While searching the cement a CBPO discovered a black wrapped package submerged in the cement. CBP officers removed five bundles from the two boxes. The contents tested positive for cocaine.
CBP officers arrested the driver of the car, 60-year-old Oscar D. Stella of Las Cruces, N.M. He was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations special agents to face charges associated with the failed smuggling attempt.
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.