Tucson, AZ. -Tucson Sector Border Patrol agents, a component of the Joint Field Command-Arizona, seized approximately 1,255 pounds of marijuana worth in excess of $627,000 in three separate incidents during the weekend.
Saturday, Casa Grande agents stopped a Chevy pickup truck traveling north from the international boundary on a route frequently used by smugglers. A Border Patrol canine then alerted to the presence of narcotics in the vehicle, leading to the discovery of 288 pounds of marijuana concealed in a hidden compartment and worth approximately $144,000, The narcotics and driver, a United States citizen, were transported to the Casa Grande station for processing.
On Sunday, Casa Grande agents operating a mobile surveillance system observed suspected narcotics smugglers northeast of Papago Camp in the West Desert. Agents responded to the area and discovered six backpacks containing 341 pounds of marijuana worth an estimated $170,500. After an extensive search, agents apprehended one subject, a Mexican national, and seized an AK-47 semi-automatic rifle. The subject, weapon and narcotics were transported to the Casa Grande station for further processing.
Using detection technology, Ajo Station's All-Terrain Vehicle Unit responded to possible smuggling activity five miles east of State Route 85 on Sunday. Seven suspected drug mules, all Mexican nationals, were taken into custody and 626 pounds of marijuana were seized. The narcotics, valued at $313,000, and subjects were transported to the Ajo Station for processing.
Probabilities of arrest and associated penalties for drug smuggling have impacted smuggling operations. Smugglers often abandon their drug loads rather than risk apprehension and prosecution.
CBP announced the JFC-AZ in February 2011 as an organizational realignment that brings together the Tucson and Yuma Border Patrol Sectors and their Air Branches, as well as the Tucson Field Office, 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.
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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.