Drug Smuggling in N.M. Still Active
LAS CRUCES, New Mexico-Border Patrol Agents in New Mexico arrested five suspected smugglers and seized nearly 500 pounds of marijuana and eight pounds of methamphetamines in late February.
Border Patrol Agents at the Las Cruces Immigration Checkpoint on I-10 were conducting immigration inspections when a Honda Pilot entered. Agents immediately became suspicious when the driver began to display unusual mannerisms while being asked routine questions. Consent to search the vehicle was granted, and a canine service dog was brought over and alerted to illegal contraband.
A thorough search of the vehicle’s firewall on the driver’s side revealed 14 bundles of methamphetamine hidden within that compartment. The total weight of the "meth" was eight pounds, valued at $256,000. The driver and a juvenile passenger, along with the methamphetamine and vehicle, were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) pending prosecution.
On February 20, Lordsburg agents were diligently watching the border when they spotted two subjects carrying two large backpacks in the desert, away from U.S./Mexico border. Agents on horseback responded to the area utilizing night vision technology, and quickly encountered the two men in the darkness. They were placed under arrest and their backpacks were seized. Once at the station, the bundles were verified as marijuana, and the total weight in the backpacks was 93.8 pounds. The street value is estimated at $75,040.
DEA will pursue criminal prosecution of the two alleged traffickers, and are pending removal from the country.
One day prior, Agents in the desert and came upon two other subjects walking in the desert. The men fled on foot from Agents up to a nearby mountain range. During the brief chase, Agents came upon five abandoned large burlap wrapped backpacks with marijuana, which was believed to be connected to the chase. Agents then saw five subjects running down the mountain range and into Mexico at a distance.
Agents searched the area, but did not locate any additional subjects. The bundles were gathered and transported to the Lordsburg Station for processing. The bundles weighed 205.4 pounds, valued at $164,320. The marijuana was secured at the station.
One final drug smuggling episode unfolded on February 21 in Deming-NM when Agents using night-vision technology spotted four people walking in the desert. The subjects were also carrying large backpacks, and were suspected of crossing the border illegally. As Agents closed in, they found four backpacks and two subjects attempting to conceal themselves in the brush. After an exhaustive search, Agents suspected the other two subjects absconded. The backpacks contained 178.6 pounds of marijuana bundles, which was taken to the Deming Station. DEA took custody of both the subjects and the contraband.
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.