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Border Patrol Stops Smugglers at I-19 Checkpoint

Release Date: 
September 10, 2013

TUCSON, ARIZ.—Multiple arrests were made recently when Tucson Sector Border Patrol agents stopped smugglers from bringing meth, marijuana and illegal immigrants through the I-19 checkpoint just north of Tubac, Ariz.

Last Thursday, agents observed numerous used water bottles in a vehicle containing only a driver and passenger. The water bottles resembled those used by illegal immigrants to carry water through the desert. The vehicle was referred to secondary inspection, where two illegal immigrants were found hiding in the trunk of the car. Both the driver and passenger were arrested and charged with alien smuggling. The illegal immigrants were processed for removal.

A second smuggling attempt on Saturday ended when a Border Patrol canine alerted to possible contraband in a vehicle. During a search of the vehicle, agents discovered 13 bundles of marijuana located in a hidden compartment inside the gas tank.

The final seizure occurred on Sunday when a Border Patrol canine alerted to possible contraband in a Ford Explorer. The Ford Explorer was referred to secondary inspection where it was x-rayed using a mobile backscatter vehicle. Upon inspecting the x-ray images, agents located 20 bundles of methamphetamine hidden in the body of the SUV.

The drugs found in the vehicles, worth over $81,000, were seized and turned over to the DEA. The drivers were arrested for narcotics smuggling. In all three cases, the vehicles were seized by the Border Patrol.

Border Patrol agents use a combination of technology and infrastructure to target transnational criminal organizations that attempt to profit from smuggling illicit contraband into the United States. Checkpoints are a vital component of Border Patrol operations which contributes to the safety of the surrounding communities.

Customs and Border Protection welcomes assistance from the community. Citizens can report suspicious activity to the Border Patrol and remain anonymous by calling (877) 872-7435 toll free.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017