Border patrol agents say smuggling operations have streamlined into smaller packs of younger, more aggressive men who are increasing their use of the remote Texas-New Mexico desert. The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that agents say these younger illegal immigrants, some carrying 50 pounds of drugs for several days, travel in groups of two to five and evade capture by heading quickly to the mountain canyons of the Texas-New Mexico border. The change comes as smugglers try to adjust to beefed-up, high-tech security along the border that has resulted in large drops of border arrests since 2006. Bobby Stephens, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent, says to combat smaller smuggler groups in remote border regions, agents are using horse patrols so they can move faster.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in New Mexico say they've made an unusual seizure -bundles of marijuana stashed inside wood-framed and mirrored quinceanera plaques. An 18-year-old Colorado woman has been arrested in the case. A pickup truck entered the Columbus port from neighboring Palomas, Mexico, about noon Sunday and the vehicle was selected for a secondary exam. Officers found numerous boxes filled with quinceanera decorations and noticed an anomaly in several of the plaques. CBP officers dismantled the plaques and recovered 104 pounds of marijuana wrapped in 100 thin, rectangular wrapped packages. Authorities say Tahlia Arana Perea, of Denver, was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. It was unclear Monday whether Perea has legal representation yet.
A Mexican national last week pleaded guilty to attempting to bribe a Customs and Border Protection officer at the Columbus port of entry.
25-year-old Gabriela Quintana-Hernandez of Gomez Farias, Chihuahua, Mexico, reportedly offered the Customs officer 25-hundred dollars if he would help her get to Albuquerque. The bribe attempt was prompted by the fact that Quintana-Hernandez did not have immigration documents permitting her to enter the United States legally.
The officer reported the bribe, and Quintana-Hernandez was arrested at the port on December 1st and has remained in federal custody. Her sentencing hearing has not been set.