Half-ton of pot snagged by Border Patrol Agents near NM/AZ border

Hidalgo County, New Mexico U.S. Border Patrol Agents assigned to Southern New Mexico and West Texas stations took part in several seizures totaling more than $1,423,600 of marijuana, as well as arresting a convicted sex offender and a wanted felon out of Arizona.

On August 25, Border Patrol Agents, working along with the Hidalgo County Sherriff’s Office, conducted an exhaustive search of an area looking for concealed drugs.  Working off of information gathered, the agents and deputies, located six backpacks of marijuana that had been hidden beneath dirt, rocks and brush.

Agents, working with New Mexico State Police Officers, began to follow the footprints leading away from the backpacks, and after several hours, located five subjects who all admitted to being from Mexico illegally in the United States.

The subjects, later identified as 25-year old Luis Rodriguez Castruita, 29-Year old Guillermo Castorena Lucero, 18-Year old Jonathan Cuevas Baesa, 38-Year old Humberto Valles Pina, and 19-Year old Sergio Vazquez Sanchez all admitted to having carried the backpacks containing a total of 292 pounds of marijuana across the international border.

The marijuana and subjects were all turned over to the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s office to await prosecution.

The following day, Lordsburg Agents conducted an immigration stop on a vehicle on Highway 80 that was headed northbound.  Upon inspection, all six subjects in the vehicle admitted to being from Mexico, illegally present in the United States.

All six subjects were transported to the Lordsburg Border Patrol Station, where 2 of the subjects’ biometric records revealed alerts.  The first subject, 31 year old Mario Solorzano Granados, was found to have an extensive immigration and criminal history, including a 2013 conviction in Washington State for Assault with Sexual Motivation.

The other alert returned for 36 year old Jesus Rios Herrera, who currently has a warrant for his arrest out of Maricopa County, Arizona for felony violations of Money Laundering, Dangerous Drug and Criminal Enterprise.  Solorzano will be charged with a reinstatement of his prior order of removal from 2015, and was placed at the Luna County Detention Center pending the outcome of his case.

Rios will also be charged with a reinstatement of a prior removal.

Upon arrival, agents took all subjects into custody and seized over 460 pounds of marijuana.  Due to the fact that the subjects were apprehended on the Arizona side of the border, all subjects were turned over to the Tucson Sector to await prosecution.

Author: US Border Patrol