Woman attempts to drive pickup loaded with pot through NM border crossing, CBP says

Border Crime

This April 21, 2009 photo shows the welcome sign on Highway 11 near the US-Mexico border along the highway leading to Columbus, N.M. The dusty little border town with almost no visible means of support has been seeing something of a boom in the past year. The source of this sudden wealth? An influx of Mexican drug smugglers, investigators say. (AP Photo/Bill Faulkner)

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — A woman accused of smuggling a large amount of marijuana through a New Mexico port of entry made her initial appearance in federal court Wednesday in Las Cruces, N.M.

Nancy Edith Duarte-Lujan, 39, of Deming, N.M., is named in a criminal complaint charging her with conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute marijuana, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday.

On Monday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers arrested Duarte-Lujas at the Columbus Port of Entry in Southwestern New Mexico. She allegedly hid marijuana in the spare tire, fenders, back seat and tailgate of her truck.

Duarte-Lujan remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing on March 30, a release said. She faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of the charged offenses.

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