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Three Large Marijuana Busts at the Santa Teresa Port of Entry

Release Date: 
July 30, 2012

Santa Teresa, New Mexico -- U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers working at the Santa Teresa Port of Entry made three large drug seizures in a five-hour span Friday. The combined weight of the marijuana seized in the three incidents was 1,166 pounds.

"These seizures were made due to the vigilance of our CBP officers utilizing an array of enforcement tools, officer experience and advanced technology to detect deeply concealed loads of narcotics," said CBP Santa Teresa port director Joanne Thale-Lembo. "The sophistication of these concealment methods shows the extent to which smugglers go to introduce contraband to the streets of America."

The first seizure occurred just before 10 a.m. when a Dodge Caravan approached the primary inspection lane. CBP officers conducted a search of the vehicle revealing 164.5 pounds of marijuana in several compartments of the vehicle. A CBP officer took custody of 48-year-old Dario Canas Nevarez of Las Cruces, New Mexico. He was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement HSI agents to face federal drug charges.

Approximately two hours later CBP officers working at the port cargo facility were conducting enforcement operations when a Dodge truck hauling a trailer was selected for inspection. CBP officers, utilizing a variety of enforcement techniques, discovered 86 bundles of marijuana concealed in hidden compartments of the trailer. The drugs weighed 473.4 pounds. CBP officers took custody of 28-year-old Esgar Marcelino Tarango of Cuauhtemoc, Chihuahua, Mexico. He was turned over to New Mexico Metro Narcotics task force officers to face state prosecution charges.

The third seizure occurred at approximately 1:30 p.m. when a Chevy 2500 applied for entry into the United States. A CBP officer noted a number of issues during his discussion with the driver and referred the vehicle for a secondary inspection. CBP officers utilized a gamma-ray examination to inspect the vehicle, revealing several anomalies in the bed of the vehicle. The vehicle was moved to the inspectional area where 321 drug-filled bundles were extracted from the bed of the truck yielding 528 pounds of marijuana. CBP officers took custody of 38-year-old Juan Ramos Flores of Chihuahua City, Mexico. He was turned over to ICE HSI agents to face federal drug charges.

"These seizures were made due to the sharp vigilance of our officers utilizing an array of enforcement tools, officer experience and advance technology to detect deeply concealed loads of narcotics," said Joanne Thale-Lembo, CBP Field Operations Port Director at the Santa Teresa Port of Entry. "The sophistication of these concealment methods shows the extent to which smugglers go to introduce contraband into the streets of America."

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers' primary mission is anti-terrorism; they screen all people, vehicles, and goods entering the United States, while facilitating the flow of legitimate trade and travel into and out of the United States. Their mission also includes carrying out traditional border-related responsibilities, including narcotics interdiction, enforcing immigration law, protecting the nation's food supply and agriculture industry from pests and diseases, and enforcing trade laws.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) 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.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017