DENVER (CBS4/AP) – A man and woman from Denver have been accused of trying to smuggle marijuana over the U.S.-Mexico border in separate incidents.
Authorities in Santa Teresa, N.M., say they arrested a 19-year-old Denver woman trying to smuggle marijuana across the border with her 2-year-old son and another young passenger in the car.
Acting Port Director Ray Provencio says it is becoming more and more common to see smugglers traveling with children as they try to blend in with the rest of traffic.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection field officers say Lysette Salazar Miranda was arrested Saturday after authorities found 210 pounds of marijuana with an estimated street value of $168,000 in a trap door of the minivan she was driving. They say her son and the juvenile passenger were turned over to relatives.
“These smuggling organizations are getting very creative, in that they’ll find any way to distract our officers,” Ruben Jauregui with U.S. Customs and Border Protection told CBS4. “They’ve used family units, senior citizens, juveniles, single females.”
In a separate incident U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in West Texas seized 251 pounds of marijuana hidden in an SUV. Officials on Monday announced the seizure of the marijuana with a street value of more than $200,000.
The driver, Leopoldo Ruben Deluna, 30, of Denver, was arrested.
The seizure was made on Saturday as the SUV was trying to cross into the U.S. from Mexico through one of the ports of entry in El Paso.
A secondary inspection with an x-ray system of the vehicle found anomalies in the SUV’s floor.
A drug sniffing dog alerted officials to the floor, where 176 bundles of marijuana were hidden.
Small amounts of marijuana are now legal under state law in Colorado, but under strict growing regulations, and bringing it in from out of state is clearly illegal.
Jim Gerhardt of the Colorado Drug Investigators Assocation says Colorado has become a hub for illegal distribution.
“If you are caught with marijuana there are a number of different ways that you can justify even large amounts of marijuana under Amendment 64,” Gerhardt said.
While both suspects arrested at the border are from Denver, it’s not clear if Colorado was the final destination for the smuggled pot.
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