TUCSON, Ariz. – Tucson Sector Border Patrol agents stopped three smuggling attempts, arrested 11 suspects and seized three firearms in a 72-hour period that began Sunday.
Sunday afternoon, a citizen near Bisbee reported to the Border Patrol that a vehicle had stopped on a rural road and picked up a person walking out of the desert. Agents from the Brian A. Terry Station responded and located the reported vehicle.
After agents stopped the vehicle to conduct an immigration inspection, they questioned two male occupants and determined the passenger, a Mexican national, was illegally present in the United States. During the encounter, agents also discovered the driver, a U.S. citizen, was in possession of a 9 mm handgun.
Monday evening, Border Patrol agents working along Interstate 8 near Gila Bend witnessed a Honda Pilot SUV load five persons from the side of the road. Agents stopped the vehicle and conducted an immigration inspection, subsequently confirming that the five passengers were Mexican nationals illegally present in the country. The driver, a U.S. citizen, was also found to be traveling with a .45 caliber pistol in the vehicle’s front console.
The third incident occurred early Tuesday near Three Points when agents responded to a citizen’s report of a Lincoln Navigator picking up a person from the side of Robles Junction Road. Agents found and stopped the vehicle a short distance from the reported location and questioned two male occupants, both U.S. citizens. The men claimed to be traveling alone but when agents looked closer, they saw a third person, later identified as a Mexican national, hiding on the floor between the rear seats. After arresting the vehicle’s occupants, agents searched the vehicle and discovered a 9 mm handgun in the rear storage area.
All persons encountered during the three incidents were taken into custody, and the vehicles and firearms were seized. Those individuals illegally present in the country will be presented for immigration hearings in accordance with Tucson Sector guidelines. The three U.S. citizens are facing human smuggling charges.
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.