Marijuana found in boxes of floor tile; 2 Ariz. men arrested

Marijuana in boxes of floor tile

Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

CBP officers found marijuana in boxes of floor tile.


by Jennifer Thomas

Posted on May 28, 2014 at 2:34 PM

Updated Friday, May 30 at 2:24 PM

PHOENIX -- Two men from Arizona are accused of trying to smuggle marijuana inside boxes of hollowed floor tile.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers found 156 pounds of marijuana when they inspected a shuttle van and a trailer it was towing at the Antelope Wells international crossing in New Mexico Tuesday morning.

Officials said the marijuana was discovered inside sealed boxes that contained full sheets of tile on the top and bottom but cut pieces in between. The cut pieces created a void, which was filled with bundles of marijuana.

The marijuana had an estimated street value of $124,800.

"Smugglers spent a lot of time cutting tile, fabricating the marijuana-filled bundles to fit in the space they created, and then resealing the packages in an effort to thwart the CBP inspection process," said CBP Columbus Port Director Robert Reza.

CBP officers arrested the driver of the shuttle van and one passenger. The driver was identified as Jose Garcia Acevedo, 45, of Glendale, and the passenger was Benjamin Ortiz, 54, of Phoenix.

Both were turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations special agents to face charges associated with the failed smuggling attempt.