Nogales, Ariz. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at Nogales area ports this past weekend seized more than 423 pounds of marijuana, worth close to $212,000, and slightly more than 35 pounds of methamphetamine, valued at roughly $549,000.
Four seizures involved methamphetamine; the largest seizure occurring Sunday when Yovana Mercedes Gonzalez Cazares, 24, of Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, was apprehended with a little more than 19 pounds of meth hidden in a compartment in the floor of her Saturn sedan. A CBP canine alerted to the presence of drugs worth an estimated $295,000.
Another significant meth seizure occurred when officers at the Dennis DeConcini Port referred Martin Elenes Mercado, 18, of Nogales, Ariz., for a secondary inspection of his Dodge sedan. After a CBP narcotics detection canine alerted to the presence of drugs in his vehicle, officers removed nearly 13 pounds of methamphetamine, worth almost $201,000, from the firewall and dashboard areas.
Six seizures involved marijuana; the largest of which occurred Saturday at the Mariposa Port when officers found 123 pounds of marijuana in a Ford van driven by Carlos Soto Rosas, 33, of Obregon, Sonora, Mexico. A CBP narcotics detection canine alerted officers to 40 packages of marijuana, worth an estimated $62,000, in the van's headliner.
In each incident, the vehicles and drugs were seized. The suspects were arrested and turned over to 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.
CBP's Office of Field Operations is the primary organization within Homeland Security 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 (CBP) 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.