Tucson, Ariz. - U.S. Border Patrol agents in the Tucson Sector seized more than 1,700 pounds of marijuana in two separate incidents Thursday. The drugs have an estimated value exceeding $1.3 million.
In the first incident, agents assigned to the Ajo station responded to a report of possible drug smugglers near Lukeville. A Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Air and Marine helicopter from the Yuma Sector and a Yuma Sector All-Terrain Vehicle Unit also responded to assist. When agents arrived they located 15 abandoned backpacks of marijuana weighing nearly 960 pounds.
Later, a Nogales station Canine Team conducting checkpoint operations on Interstate 19 alerted to a semi-truck with a flatbed trailer. At secondary inspection, agents discovered a hidden compartment containing more than 750 pounds of marijuana. The vehicle, driver, a passenger, and the marijuana were transported to the Nogales station for further processing.
The integrated efforts of CBP components allows for a rapid and coordinated response to border incursions. Checkpoints are also crucial to Border Patrol's defense-in-depth strategy for stemming the flow of contraband into the United States.
From Oct. 1, 2009, to July 31, 2010, the Tucson Sector Border Patrol seized more than 867,000 pounds of marijuana with an estimated value exceeding $694 million.
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.