Perseverance Pays Off for El Paso Sector Agents
LORDSBURG, New Mexico - Diligence by the men and women of the U.S. Border Patrol/El Paso Sector continues to bolster our nation’s defense after additional drug seizures and arrests were made this past weekend in southern New Mexico’s “boot-heel” region.
Agents foiled two separate drug smuggling episodes that effectively removed 1,763 pounds of marijuana, valued at over $1.4 million in the Animas Valley of southwestern New Mexico.
On March 19, Lordsburg Station agents were alerted to a vehicle incursion south of the Animas Valley on a county road. The vehicle was identified as a late model Ford pickup traveling north on that road. Agents successfully deployed a controlled tire deflation device which disabled the vehicle.
The two occupants fled from the vehicle into the open desert. Agents located and apprehended one of the subjects after a short foot pursuit in the open desert. The other suspect managed to elude capture and absconded back to Mexico. Upon further inspection of the vehicle, agents found 205 bundles of marijuana scattered throughout the truck. The bundles totaled 1,662 pounds, valued at approximately $1.3 million.
The suspected smuggler and the contraband were transported to the Lordsburg station for processing. The subject was identified as 33-year-old Miguel Arturo Mendez Zambrano, from Mexico. The subject and marijuana were taken into custody by Homeland Security Investigations and is pending prosecution.
In a separate incident on Friday morning, Border Patrol Agents working in same general vicinity arrested three suspected smugglers and seized 101 pounds of marijuana.
Agents used night vision technology near Playas, New Mexico to locate three people walking through the desert into the U.S. As Agents closed in, they found the three men were in possession of two burlap backpacks which contained 100 pounds of marijuana. The three men are identified as 24-year-old Nelmi Noe Cano Ponce, 20-year-old Jesus Alejandro Diaz Fierro and 23-year-old Oscar Lozano Terrazas, all citizens from Mexico. They were transported back to the station along with the marijuana.
The marijuana has an estimated street value of $80,440. The Drug Enforcement Administration accepted the case and prosecution is pending.
Also on Friday, Agents working at the U.S. Immigration Checkpoint on Interstate 10, west of Las Cruces, New Mexico, were inspecting vehicles when a Mitsubishi Endeavor arrived. Due to the driver’s nervous behavior and inconsistencies in his description of his travels, the agents became suspicious and gained consent from the driver to search the vehicle. A canine conducted a non-intrusive inspection on the vehicle and alerted to possible contraband inside. A more extensive search was conducted and agents discovered several bundles of marijuana hidden inside the vehicle. The total weight of the illicit contraband was 66 pounds, valued at $52,800. The driver was identified as 19-year-old U.S. Citizen, Eduardo Gonzalez.
The subject was placed under arrest and the SUV and marijuana were seized. The Drug Enforcement Administration took custody of the driver and the marijuana.
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.