SANTA TERESA, N.M.—U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations officers working at the Santa Teresa port of entry seized 113 pounds of marijuana Monday. In an unusual twist the drugs were found in a vehicle that was attempting to exit the United States.
"CBP outbound inspections are designed to stop the southbound flow of smuggled currency, weapons, ammunition and other prohibited items," said acting Santa Teresa Port Director Ray Provencio. "Marijuana leaving the country is odd but the seizure shows that CBP officers are working hard and vigilant in the inspections they perform."
The seizure was made just before 8 a.m. when a 1997 Honda Accord with two occupants arrived at the southbound inspection area. The driver told CBP officers he was lost and attempting to travel to Santa Teresa. CBP officers initiated an exam after the driver was evasive during a routine discussion. CBP officers spotted a package consistent with drug smuggling in the trunk. CBP officers continued their exam and found two large packages containing numerous smaller bundles inside the trunk. The contents of the packages tested positive for marijuana. The drugs weighed 113 pounds and have an estimated street value of $90,400.
Both occupants were taken into custody by CBP officers and then arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement HSI agents in connection with the failed smuggling attempt. The driver is 21-year-old Julio Cesar Jaramillo and the passenger is Mark A. Almanza. Both are residents of New Mexico and U.S. citizens.
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.