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CBP Officers Stop 66-Year-Old Drug Smuggler At New Mexico Port

Release Date: 
July 18, 2012

Columbia, N.M. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at the Columbus port of entry seized 295 pounds of marijuana Tuesday. The drugs were concealed in a vehicle being driven by a 66-year-old Deming man.

CBP drug sniffing dog

"CBP officers at the Columbus port encounter smugglers of every generation. We have caught teenagers, young adults, middle aged people and senior citizens attempting to smuggle drugs from Mexico," said CBP Columbus Port Director Robert Reza. "CBP officers understand the threat is constant and therefore remain vigilant as they perform their important mission."

The seizure was made shortly after 3:30 a.m. when a 2000 Chevrolet Silverado entered the port of entry. A CBP officer interviewed the driver of the pick-up and selected the vehicle for a secondary exam. CBP officers performing the inspection noticed signs of tampering. They then x-rayed the vehicle and noted anomalies in the appearance of the floor of the truck. CBP drug sniffing dog "Domi" searched the truck and alerted to the floor. CBP officers removed a total of 276 marijuana-filled bundles from the floor of the vehicle.

CBP officers removed a total of 276 marijuana-filled bundles from the floor of the vehicle.

CBP officers took custody of the driver, Benjamin Espino, a legal permanent resident from Mexico who lives in Deming, New Mexico. He was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement HIS special agents to face federal charges in connection with the failed smuggling attempt.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers' primary mission is anti-terrorism; they screen all people, vehicles, and goods entering the United States, while facilitating the flow of legitimate trade and travel into and out of the United States. Their mission also includes carrying out traditional border-related responsibilities, including narcotics interdiction, enforcing immigration law, protecting the nation's food supply and agriculture industry from pests and diseases, and enforcing trade laws.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) 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 9, 2017