TUCSON, Ariz. – Customs and Border Protection officers arrested five men and two women during separate weekend attempts to smuggle cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine through the Port of Nogales. The drugs seized have an estimated value of nearly $1.6 million.
Officers at the Mariposa crossing selected Maria Lopez-Arvizu, 21, and her passenger, Mariana Lopez-Carrasco, 21, both from Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, for further inspection the Chevrolet SUV they were traveling in on Sept. 25. A CBP narcotics-detection canine then alerted officers to more than 43 pounds of cocaine, worth in excess of $453,000, and nearly 42 pounds of methamphetamine, worth almost $125,000, in the vehicle’s headliner.
Meanwhile, officers at the Dennis DeConcini crossing referred Donato Garcia-Sanchez, 43, of Rio Rico, Arizona, for further inspection of his Mazda SUV. After a CBP narcotics detection canine alerted to a rear quarter panel, officers found more than 10 pounds of cocaine worth approximately $109,000.
A short time earlier, officers located nearly eight pounds of heroin and more than 28 pounds of cocaine within an SUV crossing through the SENTRI lane at the DeConcini crossing. The vehicle, driven by Francisco Alejandro Betancourt-Valenzuela, 44, of Tucson, contained an estimated $107,000 worth of heroin and more than $295,000 in cocaine.
On Sept. 26, officers at the DeConcini crossing referred Sergio Archuleta-Lopez, 47, of Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, for a secondary inspection of his Mazda. A CBP canine team alerted officers to nearly 17 pounds of meth hidden behind the front and rear bumpers. The drugs are valued at nearly $51,000.
The following day (Sept. 27), officers at the Mariposa crossing referred Juan Manuel Flores-Mora, 26, of Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, and his passenger, Gonzalo Eduardo Saiz-Moreno, 24, of Empalme, Sonora, Mexico, for a secondary inspection of Flores’ Honda sedan. A canine team then alerted officers to more than seven pounds of cocaine, 12-plus pounds of meth and more than 22 pounds of heroin within the floor of the vehicle. Combined, the drugs are worth an estimated $426,000.
Officers processed the vehicles and drugs for seizure, and referred the seven subjects to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.
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.