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CBP Officers Seize Marijuana at 2 New Mexico Ports Monday

Release Date: 
December 22, 2009

El Paso, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Columbus and Santa Teresa international ports of entry seized marijuana Monday. Both drug loads were concealed in fuel tanks. CBP officers seized a total of 361 pounds of marijuana in the two busts.

The fuel tank of a vehicle contains packages of marijuana.

The fuel tank of a vehicle contains packages of marijuana.

The seizure at the Santa Teresa port of entry was made just before 11 a.m. when a 1998 Dodge Ram entered from Mexico. CBP officers working at the primary inspection booth noticed that the driver was nervous. CBP officers used several layers of enforcement to pinpoint the reason for the driver's demeanor. A "Buster" density meter, X-ray equipment, and drug sniffing dog helped CBP officers pinpoint the drug load in the fuel tank. CBP officers removed a total of 148 pounds of marijuana from the fuel tank.

CBP officers arrested the driver of the truck, 33-year-old Jose Espinoza Torres of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. He was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agents to face federal charges in relation to the failed drug smuggling attempt.

The seizure at the Columbus port of entry was made just before 3 p.m. when a 2009 Ford Excursion entered from Mexico. CBP officers working at the primary inspection booth selected the vehicle for a thorough exam. CBP officers X-rayed the vehicle and noted a dense area in the fuel tank consistent with previous drug loads. A CBP drug sniffing dog searched the vehicle and alerted to the fuel tank. CBP officers removed a total of 213 pounds of marijuana from the fuel tank.

CBP officers arrested the driver of the SUV, 22-year-old Vanessa Ann Marie Maestas of Phoenix, Ariz. She was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agents to face federal charges in relation to the failed drug smuggling attempt.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017