TUCSON, Ariz. – Tucson Sector Border Patrol agents assigned to the Ajo Station, along with Pima County Sheriff Department deputies, arrested two Mexican nationals and one U.S. citizen in a foiled smuggling attempt that led authorities on a chase Sunday morning near Ajo.
Agents patrolling State Route 85 were following up on a suspicious activity report when they attempted to pull over a northbound Chevy pickup. The driver, however, sped away. As agents followed the vehicle, they witnessed passengers throwing marijuana bundles from the vehicle.
Pima County Sheriff Department deputies patrolling nearby joined in the pursuit, following the vehicle to a rural road where the driver came to an abrupt stop after colliding with a fence. Three occupants then fled into the desert on foot but were soon apprehended.
Border Patrol agents and Sheriff deputies recovered all marijuana bundles thrown from the vehicle and discovered two additional bundles in the truck’s cab.
The vehicle, marijuana, and subjects were transported to the Ajo Border Patrol Station for processing. Marijuana bundles recovered during the incident had a combined weight of 196 pounds, worth an estimated $98,000.
All three men now face drug smuggling charges. The two Mexican nationals will also face charges for immigration violations. This case was referred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations for further investigation.
Federal law allows agents to charge individuals by complaint, a method that allows the filing of charges for criminal activity without inferring guilt. An individual is presumed innocent unless and until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials welcome assistance from the community. Citizens can report suspicious activity to the Border Patrol and remain anonymous by calling 1-877-872-7435 toll free. Reporting illicit activity could result in saving someone’s life.