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Border Patrol, Office of Air and Marine Clamp Down on West Desert Smuggling

Release Date: 
October 31, 2014

TUCSON, Ariz. – Tucson Sector Border Patrol agents working with Office of Air and Marine air assets seized more than 5,600 pounds of marijuana, worth an estimated $2.8 million, and three vehicles in recent west desert smuggling attempts.

Elements from OBP & OAM joined forces with the West Desert Task Force to locate and seize 1,900 pounds of marijuana

Elements from Border Patrol and Air and Marine joined forces with the West Desert Task Force to locate and seize 1,900 pounds of marijuana.

On Oct. 21 agents assigned to the West Desert Task Force and OAM’s Tucson Air Branch responded to a sensor activation near Ventana, Arizona. Agents subsequently discovered an abandoned Dodge Ram pickup truck containing more than 1,900 pounds of marijuana. Agents seized the drugs, valued in excess of $967,000. The truck, reported stolen out of Phoenix, was turned over to the Tohono O’odham Police Department.

On Oct. 25 an operator using detection technology informed agents of a suspicious vehicle in a neighboring area south of Arizona City, Arizona. Casa Grande Station agents and a Tucson Air Branch helicopter responded to the scene and found an abandoned Ford F250 pickup truck loaded with nearly 1,900 pounds of marijuana. Agents conducted an extensive search of the area but found no subjects.

Ajo Station agents and elements from the Tucson Air Branch located and seized an abandoned truck filled with marijuana

Ajo Station agents and elements from the Tucson Air Branch located and seized an abandoned truck filled with marijuana.

Later that day, Ajo Station agents received a report of a vehicle suspected of smuggling narcotics near the Gu Vo, Arizona area. Agents from the Special Operations Detachment and the Tucson Air Branch quickly responded and detected tire tracks in the vicinity. SOD agents then conducted an extensive cross-country ground search and discovered more than 1,800 pounds of marijuana, worth nearly $923,000, in the bed of an abandoned Ford pickup truck. The truck, reported stolen out of Phoenix, was handed over to the Tohono O’odham Police Department. A search of the area for subjects associated with this smuggling attempt was conducted but yielded negative results.

The West Desert Task Force is a joint initiative between U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, and the Pinal County Sheriff's Office to combat narcotics trafficking in Arizona’s west desert region. The task force is sponsored by the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area and Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, and works in association with the Alliance to Combat Transnational Threats.

The Tucson Sector Border Patrol strives to secure America’s borders through the disruption and degrading of transnational criminal organizations. Border security is a joint effort between Customs and Border Protection, other law-enforcement partners and community stakeholders.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017