El Paso Sector U.S. Border Patrol Agents working a checkpoint near Hatch, N.M., Mexico found themselves dealing with an all too familiar situation as they arrested an individual with meth and a handgun. The situation became dubious with the inclusion of small children and the discovery of a second handgun that was reported stolen.
Early Monday morning, Border Patrol Agents assigned to the Las Cruces Border Patrol Station were conducting routine duties at the checkpoint on Highway 26 when a vehicle with four passengers, two adults and two children, approached for inspection. During questioning it was discovered that the vehicle was a rental and other responses by the driver led to agents referring the vehicle for further inspection. The agents utilized a canine to conduct a non-intrusive sniff of the vehicle, which resulted in a positive alert for the presence of narcotics. During a search of the vehicle, an empty gun holster was discovered along with methamphetamines and drug paraphernalia. A more in depth search led to the discovery of two handguns, one of which was reported stolen.
All the subjects were transported to the Las Cruces I-25 Checkpoint for further processing. Record checks of the two adults revealed that the male driver, identified as Rafael Lopez a United States citizen, had a criminal record and active arrest warrant out of Albuquerque, N.M., for Aggravated Assault with a gun of a non-family member. The New Mexico State Police took custody of Rafael Lopez as well as the mother of the children for possible charges of child endangerment. Homeland Security Investigations was also contacted and they took custody of the narcotics and the weapons.