San Luis CBP Officers Seize More than $500,000 in Coke
San Luis, Ariz. - Two Phoenix residents were arrested Tuesday in separate incidents for attempting to smuggle more than $500,000 worth of cocaine into the United States through the San Luis Port.
Loreto Trujillo-Matus, a 50-year-old permanent alien resident from Mexico, was arrested for allegedly smuggling more than 39 pounds of cocaine valued in excess of $355,000. Customs and Border Protection officers assigned to the San Luis port referred Trujillo for a secondary inspection of his 1995 Chevy Silverado truck and car dolly after observing him becoming nervous during initial questioning. A drug-detecting canine then alerted to the car dolly. As officers conducted a closer examination of the trailer, they discovered an access point into the dolly's frame. Officers then removed an access panel and discovered 16 packages of cocaine inside, each wrapped in baby wipes and clear cellophane.
The drugs, vehicle and dolly were processed for seizure. Trujillo was arrested and turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations.
Later the same day, 28-year-old Nicole Charlene Thunder Hawk, a U.S. citizen, was arrested for allegedly smuggling nearly 20 pounds of cocaine valued at more than $174,000. After a drug-detecting canine alerted to the front of her Chevrolet Malibu, officers used a non-intrusive x-ray to detect abnormalities above the front wheel wells. Officers broke away bonding used to seal two non-factory compartments and discovered a total of 10 packages of cocaine wrapped in plastic and black electrical tape. The drugs and vehicle were processed for seizure. Thunder Hawk was arrested and turned over to ICE's Homeland Security Investigations pending federal prosecution.
Acting San Luis Port Director Roque Caza said seizures such as these are the direct result of his CBP officers' devotion to duty and commitment to protecting the nation's frontline. "These officers demonstrate their professionalism everyday with an unyielding perseverance and dedication," he said. "CBP will never waiver in our efforts to cut off the flow of dangerous narcotics into our communities."
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.