Lukeville, Ariz. - A Phoenix east valley couple was arrested Monday for allegedly attempting to smuggle more than $286,000 worth of marijuana into the United States through the Lukeville Port.
Customs and Border Protection officers referred Sandra Dee Peart, 45, of Chandler, Ariz. and her passenger, Jason Burnett, 41, of Mesa, Ariz., for a secondary inspection of the trailer they were towing behind her Ford truck when they applied for entry at the border. A further inspection led to the discovery of 36 packages of marijuana, weighing nearly 573 pounds. The vehicle, trailer and drugs were seized. Peart and Burnett were turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations.
The seizure was the second this week, involving marijuana being concealed in vehicles allegedly returning from Rocky Point, Mexico. Mario Madrid Hernandez, 48, and Dana Kimberly Oviatt, 44, both of Mesa, Ariz. were arrested on Sept. 28 after officers located 431 pounds of marijuana inside their recreational vehicle. Hernandez and Oviatt were turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations.
Individuals arrested may be charged by complaint, the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity, which raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent unless and until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The Office of Field Operations is the primary organization within Customs and Border Protection tasked with an anti-terrorism mission at our nation's ports. 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 carrying out border-related duties, including 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.