‘Trusted Travelers’ Betray Trust, Arrested by CBP
TUCSON, Ariz. – Customs and Border Protection officers at Arizona’s Port of Nogales recently arrested two individuals with “Trusted Traveler” status and revoked their Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection (SENTRI) lane privileges after finding drugs in their vehicles.
Officers working at the Dennis DeConcini Crossing on Nov. 28 referred a 25-year-old woman for a secondary inspection of her Ford sedan when she attempted to enter the U.S. through a SENTRI lane. During the inspection, a CBP narcotics-detection canine alerted to the vehicle’s spare tire well where officers found nearly 48 pounds of methamphetamine, worth almost $144,000.
Two days later, officers at the same crossing referred a 77-year-old Nogales, Arizona woman for a secondary search of her GMC van when she attempted to enter the country in the SENTRI lane. Officers looked in the vehicle’s rear cargo area and discovered more than 41 pounds of meth, worth in excess of $123,000, and more than 12 pounds of heroin, valued at close to $216,000.
Officers arrested both women for narcotics smuggling and seized their vehicles and drugs. In addition to losing their SENTRI privileges, they were then turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.
Federal law allows officers to charge individuals by complaint, a method that allows for 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.
CBP's Office of Field Operations is the primary organization within Homeland Security 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.