COLUMBUS, N.M.—U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Columbus port of entry made an unusual discovery Thursday afternoon. They found a man lying face down in a shipment of red chiles.
"CBP agriculture specialists were initiating an examination of a commercial shipment of chile when they found a man sprawled out on top of the load," said Columbus Port Director Robert Reza. "There was a bottle of tequila next to him and he appeared to be highly intoxicated when we encountered the subject."
The 35-year-old Mexican male told CBP officers he climbed into the commercial hopper while it was being staged in Mexico hoping to catch a ride to Chicago. His ill-fated journey to the United States lasted less than 100 yards when he was met by CBP. He was processed for expedited removal and returned to Mexico. CBP agriculture specialists continued their exam without incident and released the shipment and notified the importer of their unexpected discovery.
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.