Tucson, Ariz. - Border Patrol agents assigned to the Tucson Sector, a component of U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Joint Field Command-Arizona, seized 1,087 pounds of marijuana worth an estimated $543,500 and arrested 16 drug smugglers while patrolling in the West Desert Wednesday.
Ajo Station agents operating a mobile surveillance system observed a group of suspected narcotics smugglers west of the Lukeville Port of Entry. Agents responded to the area and apprehended eight subjects and seized 530 pounds of marijuana, worth an estimated $265,000. The narcotics and subjects were transported to the Ajo Station for further processing. The subjects are now facing federal charges.
In a separate incident, Ajo Station's All-Terrain Vehicle unit responded to possible smuggling activity observed by agents operating the mobile surveillance system in the West Desert. Upon arrival, eight suspected drug mules were taken into custody along with 557 pounds of marijuana. The narcotics, valued at $278,500, and the subjects were transported to the Ajo Station for processing. The subjects are being held for federal prosecution.
Detection technology, such as the mobile surveillance system, improves situational awareness for Border Patrol agents, allowing them to safely and quickly detect and respond to criminal activity. Agents remain dedicated to detecting smuggling attempts and preventing illegal drugs from entering our country.
CBP welcomes assistance from the community. Citizens can report suspicious activity to the Border Patrol by calling 1-877-872-7435 toll free. All calls will be answered and remain anonymous.
CBP announced the JFC-AZ in February 2011 as an organizational realignment that brings together the Tucson Field Office, Tucson and Yuma Border Patrol Sectors and Air Branches under a unified command structure. JFC-AZ integrates CBP's border security, commercial enforcement and trade facilitation missions to more effectively meet the unique challenges faced in Arizona. Follow us on Twitter @CBPArizona or visit the attached website for more information.
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.