EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — An El Paso man is facing federal drug trafficking charges after Border Patrol agents intercepted more than 21 kilograms (25 pounds) of methamphetamine bound for Kansas City, Missouri at a checkpoint near Alamogordo, New Mexico last week.
Dennis Talamantes, 22, is charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine in Federal New Mexico District Court following Wednesday morning’s seizure.
According to federal court documents, Talamantes entered the Border Patrol Checkpoint on US-54 south of Alamogordo just after midnight Wednesday morning driving a grey Saturn Vue. Agents allege Talamantes was acting strange and didn’t have any luggage for the trip to Missouri that he’d claimed he was on.
A K9 search indicated the presence of narcotics and a secondary x-ray scan indicated anomalies in the rear quarter panel of the SUV.
Agents conducted a further search and recovered 17 bundles wrapped in clear cellophane and tin foil weighing more than 25 pounds. The substance later field-tested positive for methamphetamine. Agents estimate the street value of the methamphetamine is over $850,000.
Court documents indicate Talamantes spoke with agents and told them he’d agreed to transport the meth on behalf of a drug trafficking operation based out of Juarez. He allegedly told them the initial drug run to Kansas City, Missouri would earn him credit toward a pre-existing debt owed to them and subsequent runs would earn $6,000.
Documents state Talamantes told agents he would pick up the drugs in Juarez, drive them across the El Paso Port of Entry and money would be wired via Western Union deposits to fund his trip to Kansas City. Upon arrival in Kansas City, he’d send a message to the drug facilitators through WhatsApp and he’d receive an address to leave the SUV for pickup.
Talamantes told Border Patrol Agents he feared retaliation and harm to his family if he failed to comply with the demands of the drug traffickers.
Border Patrol agents allege Talamantes has a prior history of drug trafficking and admitted to making several drug deliveries to the Kansas City area.
Talamantes was booked into the Doña Ana County Detention Center where he is currently being held without bond. He is scheduled for an initial appearance in Las Cruces Federal Court Wednesday at 10:30 a.m.
Border Patrol Agents in the El Paso Sector have made a series of large quantity cocaine and methamphetamine seizures since reopening checkpoints on August 5 following a months-long closure while agents were re-assigned to the southern border to assist with the influx of migrants seeking asylum.