Border Patrol Agents Seize Half Ton of Marijuana and Arrest Two Sex Offenders
YUMA, ARIZ.—Yuma Sector Border Patrol agents seized 1,082 pounds of marijuana valued at more than $541,865, and arrested two sex offenders over the holiday weekend.
On Jan. 13, Yuma Station agents patrolling near County 8th Street and the Colorado River observed a suspicious person riding an all terrain vehicle under cover of darkness. As agents approached the suspect, he turned the ATV around and sped away toward Mexico. Agents located the ATV abandoned at the river's edge and discovered it was loaded with more than 154 pounds of marijuana valued at $77,380. The ATV and marijuana were turned over to the Yuma County Narcotics Task Force.
During the early morning hours of Jan. 14, Wellton Station agents patrolling near Sentinel south of the interstate discovered six abandoned burlap backpacks filled with 300 pounds of marijuana. After searching the area and finding no suspects, the marijuana, worth $150,300, was seized for destruction.
Later the same morning, Wellton Station agents patrolling south of Gila Bend observed three individuals traversing the desert terrain. Agents responded and apprehended the individuals transporting large backpacks filled with marijuana. The suspects and marijuana, weighing 268 pounds and valued at $134,070, were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.
During the evening of Jan. 14, Wellton Station agents patrolling 11 miles south of Gila Bend observed six individuals walking through the desert. Agents approached the group and found them to be in possession of 360 pounds of marijuana valued at $180,115. The suspects were turned over to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.
On Jan. 16, Blythe Station agents patrolling on Interstate 40 near Kingman stopped a suspicious vehicle. One of the occupants, Joel Mendoza-Valdovinos, a Mexican national illegally present in the United States, was found to have an active felony warrant issued by the San Jose, Calif., Police Department. He was alleged to have committed lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14, with force, and forcible spousal rape. The suspect was turned over to the Riverside County Sheriff's Office.
Later the same day, Blythe agents were contacted by an Arizona Department of Public Safety officer concerning a possible illegal alien in custody. Agents were dispatched and arrested Jesus Manuel Hernandez-Franco for being illegally present in the United States. A records check revealed Hernandez had been charged and convicted of corporal injury to spouse, as well as lewd and lascivious acts with a minor by a caretaker. Hernandez was previously deported from the United States and is being criminally prosecuted for re-entry into the United States.
The Yuma Sector has made significant investments toward establishing a secure, safe border environment as well as improve the quality of life for affected communities throughout Arizona.
All Customs and Border Protection assets in Arizona were realigned under a unified command structure in February 2011. Joint Field Command - Arizona unifies the Tucson and Yuma Border Patrol Sectors and Air Branches, as well as the Tucson Field Office, to enhance border security, commercial enforcement and trade facilitation missions to meet Arizona's unique challenges. Follow us on Twitter @CBPArizona or visit CBP Arizona for more information.