Border Patrol arrests a Mexican fugitive, seizes $420,800 in drugs in southern New Mexico

U.S. Customs & Border Protection
Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - 4:59pm

U.S. Border Patrol Agents assigned to the El Paso Sector arrested a suspected fugitive wanted in Mexico for multiple alleged crimes that were committed in state of Chihuahua. Agents also made numerous significant narcotics seizures within a five day span to include the arrest of two individuals apprehended for the narcotics violation in various locations throughout New Mexico.

On April 28, 2014, Deming Agents encountered six individuals approximately one half mile east of the New Mexico State Road 11 Immigration checkpoint. After a brief discussion, the subjects admitted to illegally entering the country from Mexico and were attempting to circumvent the checkpoint to avoid the agents. All six subjects were taken in to custody and transported to the Deming Station for processing. During the investigative process, one of the subjects was found to have an active alert as a wanted fugitive by Mexican Law Enforcement for crimes allegedly committed in the state of Chihuahua. With a cooperative effort between various law enforcement agencies and a “whole of Government” approach, a collaborative effort led to the validation of the alert and a positive match. The subject Othoniel Gonzalez-Barraza, a 22 year old Mexican national, has been turned over to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), and will be placed in removal proceedings.

On April 26, 2014, Deming Border Patrol Agents utilized Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) technology to locate two individuals carrying large back packs under the cloak of darkness. Agents were guided in to the area where the individuals were attempting to conceal themselves in the brush and arrested both subjects carrying over 94 lbs. of marijuana valued at $75,200. The subjects were later identified as Venacio Castillo-Cruz and Jose Legarda-Renteria, both citizens of Mexico. Both subjects were turned over to DEA Task Force for prosecution.

Border Patrol Agents assigned to the Lordsburg, New Mexico Station discovered multiple bundles of marijuana in four separate incidents. The first incident occurred on April 24, 2014, where two burlap backpacks of abandoned marijuana totaling approximately 95 lbs. were discovered in the desert. Within the next 48 hours, Agents discovered an additional 432 lbs. of abandoned marijuana with an estimated street value of $345,600. In each case the subjects carrying the marijuana abandoned their attempts and were tracked walking back into Mexico.

These incidents demonstrate how vigilance by U.S. Border Patrol Agents and the ability to rapidly respond to remote areas is combating the furtherance of illicit drugs into our community, while keeping our nation’s borders safe.


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