Dateland, Ariz. - Border Patrol agents arrested a U.S. citizen attempting to smuggle marijuana through the immigration checkpoint on Interstate 8 late Tuesday evening.
At about 5:30 p.m., agents assigned to the Interstate 8 checkpoint near Dateland encountered a 1998 Ford sport utility vehicle driven by a young male.
As the driver pulled up to the checkpoint's primary inspection lane, agents noticed that the driver was acting in a manner inconsistent with normal traffic. After observing several suspicious behaviors, agents referred the driver and vehicle to secondary inspection.
Once in secondary inspection, a K-9 team performed a cursory inspection of the vehicle. The inspection produced an alert by the K-9 team indicating the possibility of hidden persons or contraband located within the vehicle. The K-9 team led agents to the spare tire located underneath the SUV. Agents inspected the spare tire and noticed that the tire was too small to support the large SUV.
A closer examination of the tire by agents revealed seven plastic-wrapped bundles of marijuana. Agents arrested the 19-year-old driver and seized 26.9 pounds of marijuana with an estimated street value of $21,520. Border Patrol agents turned the driver and marijuana over to the Yuma County Narcotics Task Force.
The Border Patrol's strategy to secure U.S. borders is based on a "defense in depth" philosophy. This includes the use of interior checkpoints to interdict terrorists, illegal narcotics and illegal aliens attempting to egress away from the border area into the interior portions of our country. Border Patrol immigration checkpoints are within the constraints of the Constitution and have been upheld numerous times by the U.S. Supreme Court. Immigration checkpoints are a valuable tool to secure our borders and have helped agents across the country stop dangerous smugglers of humans and narcotics.
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.