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Sex Offender and $2-million in Marijuana Stopped Cold in New Mexico

Release Date: 
March 11, 2016

LORDSBURG, N.M – U.S. Border Patrol agents working in New Mexico apprehended a wanted sexual offender in one incident and also seized over 2,600 pounds of marijuana in two additional law enforcement encounters. 

Late Monday agents from the Santa Teresa station were patrolling in the Mount Cristo Rey area when they were alerted to the presence of four subjects crossing the U.S./Mexico international boundary. The area is notorious for illegal immigrant smuggling. Border Patrol agents were persistent while tracking the subjects in the rugged mountainous terrain before apprehending the group. Once in custody, all of the subjects admitted to being in the country illegally.

During processing agents learned that one member of the group, 23-year-old Mexican citizen Jose Antonio Garcia-Espinoza had an outstanding warrant for sexual assault of a child out of Larimer County Sheriff’s Office in Fort Collins, Colorado.  Garcia-Espinoza is being held at the Otero County prison facility and will be extradited to the Colorado.

At approximately 10 p.m. Tuesday, U.S. Border Patrol agents from the Lordsburg station were using night vision technology in an area just north of Antelope Wells. Agents observed approximately 15 subjects walking north carrying what appeared to be large backpacks of marijuana in an area that is well known for narcotics smuggling. 

After three hours of following the subject’s tracks in the desert, agents located six subjects still carrying large backpacks attempting to conceal themselves in the desert brush.  With the assistance of a narcotics canine, agents were able to locate an additional 30 backpacks concealed under desert brush.  After an exhaustive search of the area, agents determined that the other nine smugglers retreated to Mexico. The subjects and contraband were transported to the Lordsburg station where the marijuana weighed in at 2,442.25 pounds with an estimated street value of $1,953,800. The six subjects, all citizens of Mexico, along with the contraband were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

In a separate incident a day earlier, Lordsburg station Border Patrol agents assigned to the all-terrain vehicle unit tracked foot sign of two individuals crossing into the U.S. from Mexico.  The foot prints continued through the desolate area and Border Patrol agents were able to apprehend the subjects and take custody of four large burlap backpacks containing marijuana a short distance from the subjects. 

The two subjects and marijuana were transported to the Lordsburg Border Patrol station. The marijuana weighed 236.35 pounds with an estimated street value of $189,080. Both subjects were citizens of Mexico. The men and the marijuana were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

These incidents demonstrate the vigilance and dedication of Border Patrol Agents, regardless of desolate areas and terrain, to combat the furtherance of illicit drugs into our community, while keeping our nation’s borders safe.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017