TUCSON, Ariz. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in Nogales, Arizona seized more than $5,796,000 worth of marijuana and heroin during five unrelated weekend incidents.
An officer’s canine assistant at the Nogales Commercial facility Feb. 13 alerted to a load of inbound mesquite charcoal. Upon opening one of the boxes for a visual inspection, the officer noticed a suspicious bundle inside. A subsequent, non-intrusive x-ray helped officers identify 480 bundles of marijuana, weighing more than 11,000 pounds and valued in excess of $5.6 million, co-mingled with the charcoal. Officers arrested the driver, Marcos Antonio Borquez-Espinoza, a 43-year-old Mexican national, and seized the tractor-trailer and narcotics.
Earlier in the day, officers conducting inbound operations at the Dennis DeConcini pedestrian crossing questioned Lino Banuelos-Galaviz, an 18-year-old Mexican national when he applied for admission into the U.S. A narcotics-detection canine alerted to the man’s feet where officers then found a package of heroin in each shoe. The drugs, weighing a combined 2.35 pounds, are worth approximately $33,113.
Later that evening, officers working at the Dennis DeConcini crossing referred Gricelda Loreto-Reyes, a 35-year-old Mexican national, for further questioning and inspection of her two suitcases. During the inspection, an officer and canine discovered seven packages containing more than 7 pounds of heroin worth about $104,200.
On Feb. 14, CBP officers encountered Saul Abraham Hernandez-Alcantar, a 25-year-old Mexican national, attempting to enter the U.S. in a 1999 Dodge pickup truck. Officers inspected the truck and discovered 42 packages of marijuana concealed in a non-factory compartment in the back wall and within the fuel tank. The marijuana, weighing more than 91 pounds, is worth $45,700.
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.