Tucson, Ariz. - Tucson Sector agents conducted three separate seizures Wednesday involving marijuana, methamphetamine and cocaine. The drugs have an estimated value of more than $1.2 million.
A canine team working the Interstate 19 checkpoint alerted to a vehicle in the primary inspection area. Agents referred the vehicle to the secondary area and used a non-intrusive inspection (NII) system to detect 25 bundles of marijuana hidden under roofing material. The marijuana - weighing more than 500 pounds with an estimated value of $427,000 - vehicle and driver were taken to the Nogales Station for processing. (Photos Available)
Within an hour, agents at the Interstate 19 checkpoint referred a shuttle van to the secondary inspection area. In secondary, agents found a bag in the van containing two baseball-size bundles of methamphetamine valued at more than $75,000. Also in the bag, agents found two bricks of cocaine weighing more than five pounds with an estimated value close to $165,000. The drugs and owner of the bag were taken to the Nogales Station for processing.
On the same day, agents from the Casa Grande Station seized 13 bundles of marijuana after an agent made contact with a group he was tracking. The subjects immediately fled, dropping the marijuana bundles throughout the area. A canine unit was brought in to locate all of the marijuana, which had a combined weight close to 700 pounds and an estimated value of more than $500,000. The bundles were taken to the Casa Grande Station for processing.
Canine teams continue to be an invaluable resource for the Border Patrol as their sense of smell cannot be rivaled. Combining canines with technology, such as the NII system, at checkpoints continues to strengthen the Border Patrol's defense in depth strategy. From Oct. 1, 2009, to July 31, 2010, the Tucson Sector Border Patrol seized more than 867,500 pounds of marijuana worth more than $694 million.
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.