CBP: Alleged smuggler lined inside of pickup bed with 334 pounds of pot

New Mexico

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (KTSM) — U.S. Customs and Border Protection said its officers who were working at the Columbus (N.M.) Port of Entry seized 334 pounds of marijuana on Tuesday.

According to CBP, officers located the drug load in the bed of a pickup that was making entry from Mexico.

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The CBP officer at the primary inspection referred the driver for an intensive inspection during which they located the drug load, authorities said.

“CBP Officers at the Columbus Port of Entry remain vigilant and focused on all threats in an effort to protect our country and community from dangerous drugs,” Columbus Port Director Tony Hall said in a statement. “Officer experience and technology played a vital role in stopping this attempt to smuggle over 300 pounds of marijuana.”

The driver, Inocente Rivera, 20, of Ascensión, Chihuahua, Mexico had his initial appearance in federal court May 15 in Las Cruces, N.M., on a criminal complaint charging him with possession with intent to distribute 164.4 kilograms of marijuana.

According to the criminal complaint, Rivera allegedly committed the offense May 12 in Luna County, N.M. He tried to enter the United States at the port of entry in Columbus, N.M., allegedly with 305 wrapped bundles of marijuana hidden in the cargo bed of the vehicle he was driving. Rivera allegedly intended to distribute the smuggled marijuana in the United States.

CBP officers inspected the vehicle and located the hidden contraband, according to the complaint.

Rivera is currently in custody pending a detention hearing on May 19. He faces up to 40 years in prison.

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