SANTA TERESA, N.M.—U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations officers working at the Santa Teresa port of entry seized 321 pounds of marijuana on May 1, with an estimated street value $257,000.
"Tenacity, tools, and technology led to this seizure," said Joanne Thale-Lembo, CBP Santa Teresa Port Director. "This is a sizeable drug load that did not make it to its intended destination."
The seizure was made just before noon on Wednesday, May 1, when a Dodge Ram 1500 pick-up truck entered the facility from Mexico. CBP officers initiated an examination of the vehicle and received high readings consistent with hidden contraband when scanning the truck with a "Buster" density meter. CBP drug sniffing dog "Dolar" searched the truck and alerted to the bed. CBP officers then scanned the truck with an x-ray system and spotted anomalies consistent with smuggled drugs. CBP officers removed 195-marijuana-filled bundles from the bed and floor of the truck.
CBP officers arrested the driver of the truck, 66-year-old Jose Arturo Mariscal Elizalde of Nuevo Casas Grandes, Chihuahua, Mexico. He was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations agents and arrested in connection with the failed smuggling attempt.
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.