SANTA TERESA, N.M. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and U.S. Border Patrol agents working at the Santa Teresa port of entry seized weapons and tactical equipment while performing outbound operations November 3. A Las Cruces man was arrested in the case.
“CBP is performing outbound inspections to stop the flow of unreported currency, weapons, ammunition and other items from being smuggled out of the U.S.” said Santa Teresa Port Director Ray Provencio. “Outbound inspections are an important part of the work we do in supporting our homeland security mission.”
The seizure was made at approximately 5:30 p.m. Sunday when a 2000 Chevrolet Tahoe attempted to leave the U.S. for Mexico at the Santa Teresa land border crossing. CBP personnel performing outbound exams selected the vehicle for a secondary search. During the inspection a portion of a set of body armor found under stashed beneath a seat. CBP personnel continued their exam and located a total of three handguns, three body armor vests, and eight ceramic ballistic plates. Some of the ballistic plates were hidden inside children’s backpacks.
CBP arrested the driver of the vehicle, 33-year-old Armando H. Vasquez of Las Cruces. He was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement HSI special agents to face charges in connection with the failed smuggling attempt. CBP also determined that Vasquez was being sought in Las Cruces on an outstanding NCIC warrant and that the vehicle he was driving was recently reported stolen.
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.