Ajo, Ariz. - After several miles of tracking operations in the west desert area Thursday, U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Ajo Station located more than 1,400 pounds of abandoned marijuana with an estimated value exceeding $1.1 million.
While Border Patrol agents were signcutting west of the Lukeville Port of Entry, they discovered numerous footprints along the international boundary. Agents tracked the footprints for several hours and eventually came upon 73 bundles of marijuana. Agents contacted the Customs and Border Protection Office of Air and Marine for assistance with the seizure.
Border Patrol and OAM agents then conducted a thorough search of the immediate area for individuals associated with the bundles, but the group had absconded. The marijuana was taken to the Ajo Station for processing.
Signcutting and tracking are the oldest skills used by Border Patrol agents and remain extremely effective today. Combining age-old skills with present-day equipment, such as OAM helicopters, creates a powerful force multiplier for deterring smugglers from moving their contraband through Arizona communities.