NOGALES, ARIZ.—Six people were arrested recently in multiple smuggling attempts here involving local residents and Mexican nationals.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Port of Nogales seized methamphetamine, heroin and cash in a four-day period that, when combined, grossed close to $1.5 million in value.
Francisco J. Espinoza-Ibarra, a 46-year-old Mexican national, was arrested yesterday after a CBP narcotics detection canine alerted officers to more than 20.5 pounds of heroin, valued at $279,453, in the rear bumper of his Jeep SUV at the DeConcini Port.
A 19-year-old Mexican woman was taken into custody Sunday at the Mariposa Port when she attempted to enter the U.S. aboard a commercial bus with more than nine pounds of heroin in her possession. A CBP narcotics detection canine alerted to the drugs, valued at almost $127,500.
Saturday, officers arrested Ramon Ibarra-Chaparro, 56, of Mexico, after they found nearly $695,000 worth of meth (close to 45 pounds) hidden within the bed of his Ford truck.
Friday afternoon, a local man was taken into custody at the DeConcini Port for attempting to transport $96,880 of unreported U.S. currency into Mexico. Marcos Esquer, 34, was traveling with the extra cash hidden in the engine of his Ford truck.
At about the same time, another local man, Juan Manuel Peralta, 22, was arrested when he attempted to enter the United States through the Morley pedestrian entrance almost six pounds of heroin sewn into the lining of a suitcase he was carrying. The drugs, valued at nearly $79,000, were also detected by a CBP canine.
Later that evening, a Mexican national was arrested after attempting to bring meth through the DeConcini Port. Abraham Aguilar-Cota, 24, was referred for additional inspection of his Dodge sedan, which led to the positive alert by a service canine for drugs. Ten packages were discovered within the vehicle frame. The drugs, weighing 12.7 pounds, were estimated to be worth $197,000.
All subjects were referred to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations. The drugs and vehicles were processed for seizure.
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.