Tucson, Ariz. - Agents assigned to the Douglas Station's Bike Patrol Unit seized a scuba tank and two bundles of marijuana early this morning after a smuggler attempted to sneak through a section of the city's sewer system. The marijuana weighed 55 pounds and has an estimated value of $44,000.
Agents operating an infrared camera observed several individuals illegally crossing the International Boundary fence near a sewer outlet. One individual appeared to be carrying two bundles suspected to be marijuana. As agents of the bike unit approached the area, all individuals quickly returned to Mexico but without the suspected contraband.
As agents got closer to a sewer exit in the area, they observed an individual wearing a wet suit wading through waist-high water with the bundles. When the individual saw the agents, he abandoned the bundles, his scuba tank and mask, and began wading through the sewer toward Mexico.
Smugglers appear to be getting more and more desperate due to the effectiveness of the Border Patrol, and are resorting to extreme measures - such as navigating in sewers - to move their illicit cargo into the United States. The combination of specialty units, like the Bike Patrol, and technology is proving to be an effective resource along the border.
In the first four months of this fiscal year (October through January), Border Patrol agents in the Tucson Sector have seized upwards of 350,000 pounds of marijuana with an estimated value greater than $287 million. During the same time frame last year, the Tucson Sector Border Patrol seized 341,000 pounds of marijuana worth approximately $273 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.