Nogales, Ariz. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Nogales ports of entry foiled four different attempts to smuggle 159 pounds of marijuana into the United States. The street value of the illicit drug is estimated to be almost $354,000. Three United States citizens and a Mexican citizen were arrested in connection with the botched attempts.
All four seizures occurred on Friday, January 8 within a 10-hour span.
The first attempt was at approximately 11 a.m., a Dodge Ram pick-up truck occupied by a husband and wife from Sonora, Mexico applied for entry at the Mariposa port of entry. A CBP officer and a narcotic detection dog were working the primary inspection area, when the dog alerted to the gas tank the truck. The truck was taken to X-ray where officers observed anomalies in the gas tank. Officers conducted an intensive inspection of the truck and discovered 27 packages hidden within the gas tank. The packages contained 40 pounds of marijuana.
Less than an hour and a half later, another Dodge Ram pick-up truck applied for entry at the DeConcini port of entry. The truck was driven by a 40-year-old Arizona woman. Officers utilized a narcotic detection dog who alerted to the gas tank of the truck. A total of 23 packages were removed from the tank containing 44 pounds of marijuana.
The other two seizures occurred later that night. At 7 p.m. a 40-year-old Arizona man was arrested for having four packages of marijuana hidden in a speaker box. The total weight of the packages was 21 pounds.
The final arrest was of a 23-year-old Arizona man who attempted to smuggle 54 pounds of marijuana in the backseat of a Jeep Cherokee.
In all four smuggling attempts, the narcotics and the vehicles were seized. Those arrested were turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for further investigation.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.