Cash, narcortics seized in NM busts

Cash, narcortics seized in NM busts
Wednesday, February 6, 2013 - 5:56pm

El Paso Sector U.S. Border Patrol Agents made numerous seizures of narcotics and cash in Southern New Mexico. Over a two-day span, the cache included 869 pounds of marijuana, $60,000 in suspected drug cash and additional narcotics. The illicit activity included six separate incidents in Lordsburg and Alamogordo.

A seizure Monday at the immigration checkpoint on U.S. Highway 70, west of Alamogordo yielded the case. In that instance, agents apprehended 25-year-old Marcelo Lamar Hall and 32-year-old Benjamin Joshua Johnson, both U.S. Citizens. The mannerisms of the men became suspicious to agents, and a subsequent non-intrusive K-9 inspection of their 2008 Chrysler revealed three vacuum-sealed bags containing $60,060 in suspected U.S. drug currency that was hidden underneath the rear passenger seat.

The largest marijuana seizure was in the Lordsburg area on Tuesday when agents found 19 bundles of marijuana totaling 429 pounds near the base of the Big Hatchet Mountain Range. No suspects were found. 

Earlier the same day, a separate seizure of 354 pounds of marijuana was made at 7 a.m. in the Salt Canyon area, outside of Lordsburg. A U.S. Border Patrol canine and an Office of Air and Marine (OAM) helicopter crew helped locate eight burlap backpacks full of contraband that had been left in the area. No arrests were made.

In a separate incident, at the same checkpoint on U.S. Highway 70, U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested a U.S. citizen riding on a commercial bus-line. Agents say 25-year-old Bernie Robert Ortiz was carrying about eight pounds of marijuana strapped to his left thigh, with an estimated street value of $6,480. The Otero County Narcotics Enforcement Unit took custody of the subject and marijuana.

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