Columbus, New Mexico - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Columbus and Antelope Wells ports of entry seized 321 pounds of marijuana in a pair of seizures this weekend. Two people were arrested in connection with the drug busts.
The larger of the two seizures was made Saturday at the Columbus crossing while CBP officers were performing a sweep of vehicles waiting in line just south of the primary inspection booths. CBP drug sniffing dog "Misu" alerted to a 1999 Ford Contour during the operation. CBP officers escorted the vehicle to a secondary inspection area for a thorough exam. CBP officers noticed discrepancies in the appearance of the rear seat and continued their inspection. CBP officers performed an x-ray scan of the vehicle which confirmed an anomaly in the rear seat. A total of 131 marijuana-filled bricks were removed from the compartment. The drugs weighed 207.5 pounds.
CBP officers arrested 47-year-old Arturo Anguiano of Fullerton, California. He was turned over to ICE-HSI special agents after the case was accepted for federal prosecution.
The other seizure was made at the remote Antelope Wells crossing Friday afternoon. CBP officers were inspecting a 1996 Buick Regal when they received high "Buster" density meter readings consistent with hidden contraband. CBP officers continued their examination and located a metal container built into the rear floor of the car. CBP officers performed an x-ray scan of the vehicle which revealed anomalies in the floor and backseat of the vehicle. CBP drug sniffing dog "Bingo" also alerted to the same areas. CBP officers removed a total of 152 bundles from the compartments with a weight of 114.4 pounds.
CBP officers arrested 47-year-old Mayling Betty Martinez of Phoenix, Arizona. She was turned over to ICE-HSI special agents after the case was accepted for federal prosecution.
"The combination of officer expertise, canine support, and high technology all helped identify and pinpoint these drug loads," said Robert Reza, CBP Columbus/Antelope Wells port director. "A significant amount of marijuana did not make it to its intended destination because of the work of CBP officers."
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.