EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — A man authorities describe as a criminal gang member attempted to cross a Border Patrol checkpoint with drugs, guns and cash in the vehicle.
Border agents said they smelled the odor of marijuana when the compact car approached the checkpoint on Interstate 10 just west of Las Cruces, New Mexico.
The occupants of the vehicle — a 31-year-old man and 31-year-old woman — agreed to have their car further inspected, and that’s when a drug-sniffing dog alerted agents to possible narcotics inside.
Agents said they found various amounts of heroin, marijuana, heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, liquid methamphetamine, and fentanyl and oxycodone pills inside the car, according to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection news release. Additionally, agents a handgun, automatic rifle and $17,128 in cash.
Agents arrested the man and woman, both U.S. citizens, and turned the contraband over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.
A Border Patrol spokesman told Border Report that the man is a member of the “Chuco Tango” gang. The El Paso-based Chuco Tango clique is associated with the Tango Blast gang, which the Texas Department of Public Safety considers one of the most significant gangs in Texas.
El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gloria I. Chavez said the seizure is a reminder of the critical role that the checkpoints and specialty units like the K-9 Program play in the agency’s daily operations.
“Keeping drugs out of the hands of the most vulnerable in our society, the children is of particular importance in protecting our local and neighboring communities,” Chavez said in a statement.