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Three individuals made their initial appearances on heroin trafficking charges Thursday in federal court in Las Cruces, arising from the seizure of more than 15 pounds of heroin July 10 at a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint in southern New Mexico.

The three defendants are temporarily detained pending preliminary hearings and detention hearings, which have yet to be scheduled.

Goretty Aguirre, 18, a Mexican national, and Mario Chavez Jr., 18, and Nicholas Ramon Diaz, 18, both of El Paso, Texas, are charged with conspiracy and possession of heroin with intent to distribute. According to the criminal complaint, U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested the defendants Tuesday after seizing approximately seven kilograms (15.43 pounds) of heroin allegedly concealed in a vehicle driven by Chavez and in which Aguirre and Diaz were passengers.

The agents allegedly found the heroin while inspecting Chavez’s vehicle at the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint near Alamogordo.

If convicted of the charges in the criminal complaint, Aguirre, Chavez and Diaz each face a statutory mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years and a maximum of life in federal prison.