Conexión Del Río/Staff Report

EL PASO – U.S. Border Patrol Agents in the Texas/New Mexico area experienced a busy evening on Tuesday, June 28, 2016, after arresting a convicted sexual offender and finding more than 75 pounds of marijuana concealed in a hidden compartment.  

On the evening of June 28, Border Patrol Agents working south of University of Texas at El Paso, encountered three individuals crossing the international boundary through the Rio Grande River. This area has historically been notorious for illegal entries into the El Paso area. Agents were assisted by the camera surveillance system which led them to the three subjects attempting to conceal themselves in the thick brush.

All three men were taken in to custody. During processing, it was discovered that one of the subjects, 39-year-old Jose Alberto Gallegos Rodriguez, of Mexico, had been convicted of first degree sexual assault in 1987 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Gallegos served approximately 1 year of a 5-year sentence at the state penitentiary before being administratively removed. Gallegos was booked into the El Paso County Detention Facility pending immigration proceedings.

In a separate event that same day, Border Patrol Agents at the Las Cruces Immigration Checkpoint on I-25 were conducting immigration inspections when a 2003 Volkswagen bug stalled 50 feet from the primary inspection lane.

Smoke was visibly coming from the rear of the vehicle and the driver, later identified as 19-year-old Ruben Chacon Rodriguez of Mexico, exited the vehicle and began to push the vehicle toward the primary inspection area. Agents assisted the driver and pushed the vehicle into the secondary inspection area and conducted an immigration inspection.

During inspection, a canine service dog alerted to the presence of illegal contraband. A thorough search of the vehicle using X-ray technology revealed bundles of marijuana wrapped in brown packing tape hidden in different aftermarket compartments of the vehicle floor. The total weight of the contraband was 75 pounds of marijuana with a street value of $60,160. Chacon and the marijuana were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration pending further prosecution.  

These incidents demonstrate how vigilance by U.S. Border Patrol Agents using new world technology and deception detection skills are vital in combating the furtherance of criminals and contraband in to our communities, while keeping our Nation’s borders safe.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.