Drunk Mexican tries to cross border facedown in red cilli

THERE was no hot pursuit required when US Customs and Border Protection officers discovered a Mexican stowaway drunk and face-down in a shipment of red chilli.

Officials said the "highly intoxicated" 35-year-old was found next to a bottle of tequila he brought on the journey presumably to fortify himself.

Border Protection officers working at a New Mexico border checkpoint said the man was discovered face down among a commercial load of the spicy stuff.

The man, whose name was not released, told agents he climbed into the truck while it was stopped in Mexico in hopes of getting a ride all the way to Chicago, according to US Customs.

But he only made it 100 yards (91 meters) into the United States at the Columbus, New Mexico, checkpoint when he was discovered by US customs agriculture specialists inspecting the truck, officials said.

"There was a bottle of tequila next to him and he appeared to be highly intoxicated," Columbus Port Director Robert Reza said in the statement.

The driver of the truck was allowed to continue onward to his US destination, but the stowaway was sent back to Mexico, according to US Customs.

Additional reporting by Reuters