Santa Teresa, N. M. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Santa Teresa port of entry recently intercepted a large load of marijuana found concealed in a vehicle's false compartment.
"CBP officers and the use of high-tech tools greatly contributed to this significant seizure and the arrest of these smugglers," said Jesus Luis Chavez, Assistant Port Director for CBP in Santa Teresa. "Great work is undertaken by our CBP officers each day as they continue to stop these drugs from being brought into our country."
The seizure was made on June 5 at 10:19 a.m. when a 28-year-old man driving a 2004 Nissan Armada arrived at the port from Mexico and declared clay souvenirs. CBP officers selected the vehicle for a gamma-ray exam and identified several anomalies in the appearance of the floor area. The vehicle was taken to a separate inspection area where an extensive inspection of the floor was conducted and discovered to have a non-factory compartment. CBP officers removed a total of 273 bundles from the compartment. The contents of the bundles tested positive for marijuana with an approximate weight of 448 pounds and an estimated value of $358,384.
CBP officers arrested the driver Nicholas Walters and a female passenger, 28-year-old Jaime Leigh Torres. Both subjects were turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations special agents after the case was accepted for federal prosecution.
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.