Drug Smuggling Hotbed in Southern N.M.
LORDSBURG, New Mexico — Border Patrol Agents from Las Cruces, New Mexico arrested a previously deported convicted felon over the weekend while Agents in Lordsburg made a drug seizure of over 329 pounds of marijuana.
On Saturday night, Agents working at the I-10 Checkpoint outside of Las Cruces were performing a routine immigration inspection on a passenger bus when they encountered 51-year-old Cirilo Gomez Delgado, from Mexico. Gomez presented his Mexican driver’s license and freely admitted to being in the country without any immigration documents. After further processing, it was discovered that Gomez had an extensive criminal history, and had previously been deported. That history included DUI, Possession of Controlled Substances, Amphetamine Possession and Manufacturing and Aggravated Assault. His deportation was reinstated, and he was transferred to Otero County Prison where he awaits prosecution.
“Border Patrol Agents assigned to work at highway traffic checkpoints and other patrol areas in southern New Mexico act as a secondary line of defense in our borderland,” El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent Jeffrey Self said.
On Sunday, Agents working in Lordsburg noticed a vehicle driving in an area often used by alien and narcotics smugglers. Agents became suspicious of the vehicle and the demeanor displayed by the driver. Agents performed records checks on the license plates of the small pickup and their suspicions were confirmed. The registration on the vehicle returned on a Hyundai Santa Fe, not the Nissan pickup they were following. When Agents followed the pickup, the vehicle began to swerve erratically into the other lane. A traffic stop was conducted and after questioning the driver and passenger, burlap-covered bundles were discovered behind the seats. The Agents questioned the occupants as to their citizenship where the juvenile driver stated he was an American Citizen, while the passenger admitted to being a Mexican citizen illegally present in the United States. The square, burlap wrapped bundles contained nearly 210 pounds of marijuana, valued at approximately $167,600.
Both subjects were placed under arrest and transported to the Lordsburg Station along with the marijuana and vehicle. The passenger was identified as 38-year-old Gilberto Jimenez-Garcia from Mexico, while the juvenile’s identity is being withheld due to age. The marijuana and the subjects were transferred over to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), pending prosecution.
Later that evening, Lordsburg Agents patrolling on Highway 9 observed four individuals walking north from the US/Mexico border, each hauling a large backpack. The Agents continued to monitor the individuals with night vision technology, and additional Agents were deployed. Once the suspected smugglers realized they were being followed, two of the subjects fled back to Mexico. One subject abandoned his load while the other two were arrested still carrying the burlap-wrapped backpacks.
The remaining three burlap backpacks were rounded up. The two apprehended subjects, later identified as 19 year-old Trinidad Legarda-Bustillos and 48-year-old Fernando Silva-Sanchez, both from Mexico, were transported to the Lordsburg Border Patrol Station for further processing. The total weight of the marijuana load was 123 pounds, valued at over $98,400.00. The contraband and the subjects were transferred over to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), pending prosecution.
Monday afternoon, Lordsburg Border Patrol Agents were called out to assist Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Deputies after a report of a ranch house burglary. Agents were able to locate foot prints leading south from the ranch house which led them to the discovery of three individuals attempting to conceal themselves in the brush. All three subjects admitted to being citizens of Mexico with no legal immigration documents to remain in the United States. The three apprehended subjects, later identified as 33-year-old Sebastian Diaz-Jimenez, 30-year-old Javier Monjardin-Aguilar and 42-year-old Juan Francisco Pinuelas-Anguamea, all from Mexico, were transported to the Lordsburg Border Patrol Station for further processing. All three subjects were previously deported and were transferred over to the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office pending state prosecution.
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.