SANTA TERESA, N.M -- U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations officers working at the Santa Teresa port of entry seized 199 pounds of marijuana late Thursday. The estimated street value of the seized contraband is $159,200.
“This was an unusual case in that the smuggler was traveling with his mother in an apparent attempt to deflect attention away from the drug smuggling attempt,” said CBP Santa Teresa Port Director Ray Provencio. “Smugglers will sometimes attempt to blend in with legitimate travelers by using family members to help disguise their true intent.”
The seizure was made just before midnight Thursday when a 2007 Chrysler Sebring with two adult passengers entered the port from Mexico. A CBP officer initiated a secondary examination and noticed an anomaly in the appearance of the floor of the vehicle. The CBP officer probed the suspect location and recovered a substance which tested positive for marijuana.
CBP officers then x-rayed the vehicle and spotted anomalies in the fuel tank, rocker panels and floor. A total of 144 marijuana-filled bundles were recovered from hidden compartments. The drugs weighed 199 pounds.
CBP officers took custody of the driver, a 19-year-old Mexican male from Chihuahua City, Chihuahua, Mexico. He was turned over to ICE HSI special agents to face charges in connection with the failed smuggling attempt. His 47-year-old mother was processed and returned to 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.