TUCSON, Ariz. – Tucson Air and Marine Operations Branch (AMO) and Tucson Sector United States Border Patrol (USBP) worked together to seize more than 429 pounds of marijuana, while arresting nine smugglers near Three Points, Arizona on May 23.
Air Interdiction Agents from the AMO Tucson Air Branch, along with agents from Tucson Sector's Special Operations Detachment (SOD), responded via UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter to a report of possible smuggling activity in rugged terrain north of Three Points. Upon arriving, agents observed several individuals carrying large packs. As the UH-60 hovered, SOD agents rappelled down to make the interdiction. Agents arrested nine smugglers who were backpacking more than 429 pounds of marijuana, valued at approximately $215,000.
The suspected smugglers, who were determined to be illegally present in the United States, were arrested and referred for prosecution of narcotics smuggling and immigration violations.
"This is a good example of how Air and Marine Operations stands ready to assist partner law enforcement agencies when the needs arise," Tucson Air Branch Director Mitch Pribble said. "It clearly demonstrates how CBP components work together to serve both the agency and the general public. I am proud of the work our crews did," he added.
Federal law allows agents to charge individuals by complaint, a method that allows the filing of charges for criminal activity without inferring guilt. An individual is presumed innocent unless and until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
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.
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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.