EL PASO, TEXAS—El Paso Sector U.S. Border Patrol Agents made significant narcotics seizures and arrests over the last three days, including more than six tons of marijuana and four seized vehicles in one event in far west New Mexico.
On Jan. 21, agents assigned to the Lordsburg, N.M., Station spotted five vehicles traveling in tandem on NM County Road 1. Agents made stops on four of five vehicles traveling in the caravan, and later discovered them to be drug-laden after inspection. With the assistance of the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office and CBP's Office of Air and Marine, the stop netted approximately 13,700 pounds of marijuana, valued at more than $10.9 million. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, took custody of two subjects, later identified as 39-year old Leonardo Ortiz Chavez and 29-year old Samuel Garcia Miranda, both citizens of Mexico. The subjects will be prosecuted for their crimes.
On Jan. 23, agents assigned to the I-25 Immigration Checkpoint northwest of Las Cruces, N.M. apprehended 57-year old Jesus Gomez-Casanova, a citizen of Cuba found to be illegally in the United States. Record checks done through the Integrated Automated Finger Print Identification System revealed he had an extensive criminal history and a warrant from Sacramento, Calif. for parole violation and failure to register as a sex offender. The New Mexico State Police took custody of Gomez as he awaits criminal proceedings and subsequent removal from the United States.
Earlier that same day, agents assigned to the Deming Border Patrol Station apprehended a group of five illegal immigrants north of the international border. Agents' investigation revealed that one subject, identified as 28-year old Alvaro Ivan Dominguez-Estrada, a citizen of Mexico, had an outstanding bench warrant issued for failure to appear on numerous criminal sexual assault charges, and a kidnapping charge out of Denver, Colo. Estrada was booked into the Luna County Detention Facility awaiting extradition to Denver for court proceedings.
Finally, agents at the U.S. Border Patrol Immigration Checkpoint on Highway 62 seized a 9-mm handgun, 34 rounds of 30.06 rifle ammunition, 149 9-mm rounds, and 25 20-gauge shotgun shells; and.034 pounds of marijuana. The Texas Department of Public Safety took possession of the marijuana and filed charges on the sole occupant of the vehicle. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearm took custody of the weapon and ammunition.
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.