CBP Nogales Seizes More Than $1 Million in Drugs
NOGALES, ARIZ.—U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers had a busy weekend for drug seizures at the port of Nogales. Seizures of methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin and marijuana, with a combined value of $1,091,371, were seized from smugglers attempting to enter the United States.
CBP officers on Friday arrested local resident Deniz Sneed, 21, after a narcotics detection canine alerted to the presence of drugs in the front bumper of her Ford sedan. Officers located eight pounds of meth and more than three pounds of heroin. The drugs are valued at nearly $167,000.
A short time earlier, officers referred Tucson resident Dominic Aaron Damiano, 22, for additional inspection of his Honda van as he attempted to enter the United States through the Nogales port. After a CBP narcotics detection canine alerted to the presence of drugs, officers removed more than 10 pounds of meth and more than seven pounds of cocaine. The drugs, valued at close to $227,000, were removed from the van's firewall.
Saturday, officers arrested Rene Serrano-Verdugo, 50, a Mexican national from Nogales, Sonora, after a narcotics detection canine alerted officers to nearly 55 pounds of marijuana in a non-factory compartment within the gas tank of his GMC truck. The drugs are valued at nearly $25,000.
Also on Saturday, officers arrested 44-year-old Elvia Elena Cruz de Bejarano of Mexico after a CBP canine alerted officers to more than 21 pounds of methamphetamine, valued at nearly $326,000, in the rear quarter panels of her Toyota SUV.
The same day, a CBP narcotics detection canine alert led officers to the front seats of a GMC sedan containing nearly 17 pounds of meth worth in excess of $263,000. Francisco Javier Avelar-Valenzuela, 41, of Empalme, Sonora, Mexico, was arrested at the DeConcini port.
Sunday, officers at the Mariposa port referred Kellie Marie Christensen, 25, of Peoria, Ariz. for an additional inspection of her Buick SUV. An agency canine alerted to several locations inside and outside of the vehicle, leading to the seizure of marijuana- weighing more than 93 pounds and valued at more than $42,000.
All subjects were referred to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations. The drugs and vehicles were processed for seizure.
Nogales Port Director Guadalupe Ramirez complimented his personnel for their efforts. "Smugglers don't take time off," he said, "so we have to maintain our vigilance around the clock. Our officers work very hard to catch the bad guys, while also working to make sure that legitimate trade and travel moves as smoothly as possible."
CBP's Office of Field Operations is the primary organization within Homeland Security tasked with an anti-terrorism mission. CBP officers screen all people, vehicles and goods entering the United States while facilitating the flow of legitimate trade and travel. Their mission also includes narcotics interdiction; enforcing immigration and trade laws; and protecting the nation's food supply and agriculture industry from pests and diseases.
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.