DEL RIO, TEXAS—Del Rio Sector U.S. Border Patrol agents posted a record-breaking marijuana seizure during Fiscal Year 2012, which accounted for more than a quarter of the sector's annual marijuana total.
Apprehension of illegal aliens by Del Rio Sector agents increased by more than 34 percent during FY12. Del Rio Sector agents reported 21,720 apprehensions during FY12 versus 16,144 during FY11. Of that total, 9,316 came from countries other than Mexico - more than double the total reported in FY11.
"During 2012 U.S. Customs and Border Protection made great strides in unifying efforts in the South Texas Corridor," said Rodolfo Karisch, chief patrol agent, Del Rio Sector. "Personnel from Border Patrol, the Office of Field Operations at our ports of entry, our Office of Air and Marine, and other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies have come together all across South Texas to combine resources and talent.
"The results we are seeing clearly indicate we are getting the job done."
On March 3, agents assigned to the Carrizo Springs Station, in a period of two hours, seized two loads of marijuana weighing 11,973 pounds and 6,692 pounds. The two loads of contraband, found within a short distance of one another, were both camouflaged with oilfield supplies. The two loads represent the largest and third largest marijuana seizures in Del Rio Sector history. The combined total, valued at $15 million, is the largest single-day marijuana seizure in sector history.
Overall, marijuana seizures throughout Del Rio Sector dropped by nearly 16 percent during FY12, compared to the previous year. A total of 63,484 pounds of marijuana was seized by Del Rio agents during FY12, compared to 75,325 pounds the previous year. In terms of drug value, Del Rio Sector agents seized $53 million worth of drugs in FY12 compared to $74.5 million in FY11.
Also during FY12, Del Rio Sector agents also seized 293 vehicles and $190,894 in cash or monetary instruments.
A major goal of U.S. Customs and Border Protection is to deny and degrade the efforts of transnational criminal organizations. One of the keys to accomplishing that goal is seizing southbound weapons that would otherwise end up in the hands of drug traffickers. During FY12, Del Rio Sector Border Patrol agents seized 83 firearms and 38,461 rounds of ammunition.
In addition to the weapons and ammunition seized, a unique phenomenon occurred in the Del Rio area of operation in early FY12. Agents began finding large caches of high-capacity assault rifle magazines abandoned near the Rio Grande, presumably staged for transport south across the river. During the first half of the year a total of 2,732 magazines for AK-47- and AR-15-style weapons were found hidden at or near the Rio Grande in duffel bags - usually in quantities of 100 or more.
"These seizures demonstrate that our agents are in the right place at the right time to deny drug traffickers the tools of their trade," said Chief Rodolfo Karisch. "Keeping our communities safe involves not only monitoring who and what is coming into our country, but keeping a watchful eye on what is moving south as well."