Tucson, Ariz. - Border Patrol agents assigned to the Tucson Sector, a component of the Joint Field Command-Arizona, arrested four smugglers and seized three vehicles near Douglas yesterday in connection with an effort to smuggle 13 illegal immigrants. All four smugglers were Mexican nationals.
Assisted by a Customs and Border Protection Office of Air and Marine helicopter, agents located three vehicles traveling north on Highway 191. When agents attempted to conduct a vehicle stop, two vehicles fled the area. Thirteen people ran from the remaining vehicle into an open field. Agents apprehended all 13 individuals with the help of the OAM helicopter pilot. In addition, agents tracked down one of the fleeing vehicles to a location on Davis Road. Three occupants were arrested in conjunction with the smuggling incident. The case is being reviewed for possible federal charges.
The Border Patrol notified and requested additional assistance from local and federal authorities in locating the third vehicle. CBP officers from the Douglas Port immediately reported that the outstanding vehicle had been detained as it attempted to drive south into Mexico. The driver and vehicle were turned over to the Douglas Border Patrol Station for processing. The driver was processed and is also facing federal charges.
Collaboration between CBP partners continues to disrupt transnational criminal operations. Enhanced communication coupled with the dedication and vigilance of CBP employees denies smugglers easy access to traditional smuggling routes and tactics.
CBP welcomes assistance from the community. Citizens can report suspicious activity to the Border Patrol by calling (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 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.