Cloudcroft Chief Stops Israelis
With Suspicious Cargo
By Michael Shinabery
Staff Writer

CLOUDCROFT, NM -- That they were speeding through the school zone first got his attention.
That they had Israeli driver's licenses and expired passports made him suspicious.
Cloudcroft Police Chief Gene Green stopped the 2-ton van on Thursday, for speeding. Initially, Green thought the truck was commercial because of exterior markings. But when he found it was out of Chicago, he asked for documentation such as logs books and manifests.
"They said this is a U-Haul truck and handed me a rental agreement (for) in-town delivery only in Illinois, (which) had expired two days before," Green said.
He called for backup, and Otero County Sheriff's Deputy Billy Anders, who patrols the Sacramento Mountains, arrived, along with Capt. Norbert Sanchez and Det. Eddie Medrano.
"We got them out and started digging a little deeper," Green said, "got permission to search the truck. They claimed they were hauling furniture from Austin to Chicago."
When officers advised the men they were not exactly en route from one town to another, Green said the two men claimed they were Deming bound.
"But they couldn't give us an address in Deming they were going to," he said. "Once we got into the truck, they had some junk furniture I wouldn't have given to Goodwill."
Also inside the vehicle were, Green said, "50 boxes" they claimed was a "private" delivery, but the men insisted they had no "idea what was in them."
At that point, the officers called for drug-sniffing and bomb-sniffing dogs. The men were turned over to the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and U-Haul recovered the truck. Contents of the boxes remain unknown, pending investigation.
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