Last week El Paso Sector Border Patrol Agents stopped two separate drug smuggling episodes in the boot-heel area of southwestern New Mexico and effectively removed 345 pounds of marijuana, valued at $276,720.
Early that morning, Lordsburg Station agents were alerted to possible activity in the desert. Using night vision technology, agents spotted two subjects walking north from the border area with what appeared to be large backpacks. Horse Patrol agents responded and began tracking them through rugged terrain in the darkness. After a long search, they caught up to the would-be smugglers. Agents found them sitting on two large burlap backpacks after realizing they had been caught. They were then taken into custody along with the backpacks.
The two smugglers were identified as 24-year-old Guadalupe Renteria Moreno, and 29-year-old Ricardo Palma Palma, both citizens of Mexico. At the Lordsburg Border Patrol Station, the burlap backpacks revealed 96 pounds of marijuana, valued at $77,360. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in Las Cruces, N.M. was contacted and prosecution for both individuals is pending.
In a separate incident in the same area that morning, Lordsburg Border Patrol Agents arrested two other suspected drug smugglers in the desert who used “booties” on their shoes in an attempt to conceal footprints.
Night vision technology once again led agents near Animas, New Mexico to locate several subjects walking north of the international boundary. Agents responded with a service canine and found two subjects trying to hide in the desert brush. After a long search, they located five burlap backpacks. The subjects and packs were transported to the Lordsburg Station. During processing, 51-year-old Hector Carrillo Soto was identified, while the second individual was determined to be a juvenile. Both are citizens of Mexico.
Carrillo Soto told agents that prior to their arrival, there were others assisting in the smuggling attempt, but they abandoned the drug load and scurried away to avoid arrest.
The packs contained 249 pounds of marijuana, valued at $199,360. The juvenile will be repatriated with the assistance of the Consulate General of Mexico in El Paso. The Drug Enforcement Administration was contacted and took custody of Carrillo Soto and the contraband. Carrillo Soto will be prosecuted under federal guidelines.