SANTA TERESA, N.M.—U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Santa Teresa port of entry seized 210 pounds of marijuana Saturday night. A 19-year-old Denver woman traveling with her two-year-old son and a juvenile passenger was arrested in connection with the case. The estimated street value of the seized contraband is $168,000.
"Seeing smugglers traveling with children is becoming more and more common," said Santa Teresa acting Port Director Ray Provencio. "Smugglers will try to blend in with legitimate traffic to defeat the inspection process. CBP officers at the Santa Teresa port are up to the challenge and were successful in stopping this large drug load."
The seizure was made just after 5:30 p.m. Saturday when a 2002 Ford Windstar van entered the port from Mexico. CBP officers selected the vehicle for a secondary exam during which they located a trap door in the floor of the van. CBP officers scanned the area with a "Buster" density meter and received high readings consistent with hidden contraband.
CBP officers drilled the suspect area and recovered a green substance which tested positive for marijuana. They then x-rayed the vehicle and spotted anomalies in the floor of the van. CBP officers removed a total of 220 bundles of marijuana from a floor compartment.
The driver was 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. She is 19-year-old Lysette Salazar Miranda of Denver, Colorado. Her son and the juvenile passenger were turned over to relatives.
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.