Tucson, Ariz. - U.S. Border Patrol agents seized more than 2,700 pounds of marijuana and an AK47 assault rifle in three separate incidents over the weekend in the Tucson Sector's west desert.
Friday morning, agents assigned to the Casa Grande Station's motorcycle unit discovered foot sign of 20 or more suspected illegal aliens in the west desert leading into the Alvarez Mountains. The motorcycle unit discovered 37 bundles of marijuana, but was unable to locate the smugglers. The marijuana, with a combined weight of slightly more than 1,794 pounds, is valued in excess of $1.4 million.
Saturday morning, agents assigned to the Casa Grande Station's Mobile Surveillance System unit located a group of suspected illegal aliens in the west desert area. A helicopter from Office of Air and Marine and a Border Patrol canine team responded to the area and discovered 23 bundles of marijuana with a combined weight of 620 pounds. The estimated value is more than $450,000. No apprehensions were made.
Also on Saturday morning, agents assigned to the Ajo Station began tracking foot sign near State Route 86 and Federal Route 21 along with OAM assets. Agents seized six bundles of marijuana weighing almost 300 pounds and apprehended seven illegal aliens.
During the apprehension, an agent observed one suspect drop an assault rifle before fleeing the area. The weapon was seized and taken to the Ajo Station for processing pending transfer to the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms. The Drug Enforcement Administration accepted prosecution for the seven illegal aliens in connection with the marijuana. The estimated value of the marijuana is more than $230,000.
In all cases, the marijuana was seized, processed and stored pending transfer to the DEA.
"Our agents have made a significant contribution to the safety of our nation and our communities with these seizures," said Assistant Chief Patrol Agent Raleigh Leonard. "Not only have they taken dangerous criminals off the street, they prevented large quantities of drugs and an assault rifle from entering our neighborhoods. This is a testament to the critical work our agents do every day."
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.