Santa Teresa CBP Officers Bust Family Attempting to Pass as U.S. Citizens
Santa Teresa, NM - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers, working at the Santa Teresa port of entry, stopped an unusual illegal entry attempt Tuesday afternoon. Five members of a family and a sixth person tried to enter by presenting legitimate U.S. birth certificates to CBP officers working at the port. CBP officers quickly determined that all six were impostors making false claims to U.S. citizenship.
"CBP officers working at the Santa Teresa port are thorough in their examination process," said Jesus Chavez, acting Santa Teresa Port Director for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. "Their attention to detail led to this enforcement action as well as the apprehension of another fugitive on Tuesday."
The case began just before 3 p.m. when a 1999 Chevrolet Tahoe entered the port from Mexico. Six people in the vehicle including three adults and three minor children presented U.S. birth certificates as entry documents to the CBP officer working the primary inspection station. The CBP officer asked several questions and the answers the travelers provided made him believe that the group was not U.S. citizens as they claimed.
The vehicle was sent to a secondary inspection area during which time CBP officers continued to talk to the passengers of the vehicle. CBP officers were able to determine that the birth certificates the travelers were using were not their own. All six were taken into custody for making false claims to U.S. citizenship.
One of the adult men was arrested by CBP officers on felony re-entry charges. He had been previously removed from the United States on two different occasions. Another adult male was arrested on an outstanding National Crime Information Center warrant. The female adult traveler was returned to Mexico under expedited removal proceedings. Her three children, ages 14, five and three, were allowed to withdraw their applications for entry and were returned to Mexico with their mother.
CBP officers at the Santa Teresa port of entry on Tuesday also took an 81-year-old man into custody after they were able to determine that he was wanted in Las Cruces on unlawful sale of alcohol charges. He was turned over to Dona Ana County Sheriff's officers after CBP confirmed the outstanding warrant.
While anti-terrorism is the primary mission of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the inspection process at the ports of entry associated with this mission results in impressive numbers of enforcement actions in all categories.