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CBP Officers Make Huge Drug Bust at Santa Teresa Port of Entry

Release Date: 
October 29, 2012

Santa Teresa, New Mexico - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at the Santa Teresa, New Mexico port of entry made a large drug seizure on Saturday. CBP officers seized 701.5 pounds of marijuana and took custody of one person.

"This seizure was made due to the vigilance of our officers utilizing a combination of tools and experience to detect a deeply concealed load of narcotics," said CBP Santa Teresa Port Director Joanne Thale-Lembo. "The sophistication of this concealment method shows the extent to which smugglers go to introduce contraband to the streets of America."

The seizure was made at approximately 5:30 p.m. Saturday when a 2005 Ford F-350 flatbed truck entered the facility from Mexico. A CBP officer interviewed the driver and detected a number of issues during the primary inspection and interview. The CBP officer selected the vehicle for a secondary exam. CBP officers conducted an intrusive examination of the vehicle revealing what appeared to be a non-factory compartment underneath the bed of the truck. CBP officers drilled the compartment and extracted a green substance which tested positive for marijuana. CBP officers then x-rayed the truck which showed anomalies in the appearance of the bed of the truck. The bed of the truck was dismantled producing 10 large metal boxes containing tightly compressed marijuana. The 10 bales of marijuana weighed 701.5 pounds.

CBP officers took custody of the driver, 55-year old, Jose Manuel Gomez Serrano, a legal permanent resident living in Portland, Oregon. He was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and arrested on federal smuggling charges and booked into the Dona Ana Detention Facility.

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.

For more information on CBP please tune in to AM radio 530 (Ysleta/Zaragosa area) or AM Radio 1620 (Bridge of the Americas/Paso Del Norte area). These low power radio stations continuously broadcast CBP related border crossing information in English and Spanish.

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.

Last modified: 
February 3, 2021