Stolen Vehicle Laden With Marijuana Intercepted By Border Patrol Agents In New Mexico
LORDSBURG, N.M. – On Sunday evening, Border Patrol Agents working near the border in an area south of Lordsburg, N.M., spotted and seized a truck loaded with more than $1-million worth of marijuana shortly after the vehicle made an incursion into the United States from Mexico.
In the early evening hours of March 1st, Border Patrol Agents working south of Lordsburg spotted a vehicle traveling away from the border area. The vehicle, a 2005 Ford F-350 driven by 27-year old Luis Carlos Luna Marquez from Mexico, along with passenger, 41 year old Luis Arturo Enriquez Espinoza, also from Mexico, breached the U.S./Mexico border. With the assistance of an El Paso Air Branch, Office of Air and Marine helicopter, Border Patrol Agents attempted to stop the truck. The vehicle did abruptly stop, and the two occupants attempted to evade arrest by running into the desert. They were quickly tracked and arrested, and a search of the suspects revealed that Luna-Marquez had 2.2 grams of cocaine on his person, valued at $243. Agents also searched the truck and found 1,607 pounds of marijuana, valued at more than $1.2 million. It was also discovered the truck was reported stolen out of Tucson, Arizona. The offenders and the contraband were transferred over to ICE/ Homeland Security Investigations for prosecution.
Two days prior, on February 27th, Lordsburg Agents thwarted another smuggling attempt after would-be smugglers abandoned a load of contraband and absconded back to Mexico. After receiving an alert of possible illegal activity in the area, Border Patrol all-terrain vehicles and an agency canine unit responded to investigate. After following the disturbances and footprints in the desert, the K-9 alerted to six large abandoned burlap backpacks containing marijuana. After a continued search of the area, agents determined the smugglers retreated back to Mexico. Once transported to the processing station, the marijuana weighed in at 267 pounds of contraband, with a street value of $213,600.
Also, on February 27th, Agents assigned to the Santa Teresa, New Mexico Station responded to a threat of possible smugglers approaching N.M. Highway 9. Agents working on ATV’s received the information and began the search for the suspects. After approximately four hours of following tracks in the desert, they successfully apprehended three subjects and seized 124 pounds of marijuana, valued at $99,000.
The suspects, later identified as 22 year-old Hector Mario Juarez Bustillos, from Mexico, 24 year-old Jesus Mario Ruiz Contreras, from Mexico, and 20 year-old Luis Legarda Gaytan, from Mexico, were transported to the processing center with their contraband. The subjects and the drugs were transferred to the DEA.
These incidents demonstrate how vigilance by U.S. Border Patrol Agents in coordination with the Office of Air and Marine, is combating the furtherance of illicit drugs and keeping our community safe.
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.