NOGALES, ARIZ.—U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers were busy this past weekend with drug seizures at the port of Nogales. Seizures of cocaine and heroin with a combined weight of more than 62 pounds were seized from smugglers attempting to enter the United States.
CBP officers arrested a Mexican national presently living in Rio Rico, Ariz. Heriberto Balvastro-Parra, 34, was arrested Friday after a narcotics detection canine alerted to the presence of drugs in the radiator of his Ford SUV. Officers removed seven packages of cocaine with a total weight of more than 18 pounds. The drugs are valued at more than $165,000.
Officers referred Phoenix resident Benny Sarmiento, 51, for additional inspection of his Dodge van as he attempted to enter the United States on Saturday. After a CBP narcotics detection canine alerted to the presence of drugs, officers removed nearly 40 pounds of cocaine from the gas tank. The drugs are valued at more than $362,000.
On Sunday, officers arrested Alexis Ivonne Aguilar, 21, of Rio Rico, after a narcotics detection canine alerted officers to more than four pounds of heroin inside Aguilar's suitcase. The drugs are valued at nearly $59,000.
All subjects were referred to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations. The drugs and vehicles were processed for seizure.
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.