Tucson, Ariz. -Border Patrol agents assigned to the Tucson Sector, a component of the Joint Field Command-Arizona, seized more than 2,600 pounds of marijuana worth in excess of $1 million in two separate incidents last night.
Ajo Station agents working in the West Desert responded to a citizen's report of a suspicious vehicle driving with its headlights off. Agents responded and located an abandoned 2001 Chevrolet Suburban. Inside the vehicle, agents discovered 179 bundles of marijuana weighing 2,014 pounds valued at $1,007,000. The vehicle, which was reported stolen last week out of Goodyear, Ariz., was turned over to the Tohono O'odham Police Department while the narcotics were transported to the Ajo Station for processing.
Also last night, Ajo agents using remote video surveillance technology responded to cross-border activity east of the Lukeville port where they apprehended five individuals attempting to smuggle 13 bundles of marijuana into the United States. The subjects admitted to being citizens of Mexico and to entering the United States illegally. They were taken into custody and will be submitted for prosecution on federal drug charges. The narcotics, weighing a total of 619 pounds with an estimated value of $309,500, were transported to the Ajo station for processing.
Surveillance technology deployed along the border in Arizona has greatly increased agents' ability to detect and quickly respond to illicit activity. The probability of arrest and the penalties for drug smuggling have also had an impact on smugglers. Oftentimes, they choose to abandon their drug loads rather than risk apprehension and prosecution.
Customs and Border Protection welcomes assistance from the community. Citizens can report suspicious activity to the Border Patrol by calling (877) 872-7435 toll free. All calls will be answered and remain anonymous.
CBP announced the JFC-AZ in February 2011 as an organizational realignment that brings together the Tucson and Yuma Border Patrol Sectors and their Air Branches, as well as the Tucson Field Office, under a unified command structure. JFC-AZ integrates CBP's border security, commercial enforcement and trade facilitation missions to more effectively meet the unique challenges faced in Arizona. Follow us on Twitter @CBPArizona or visit Joint Field Command Arizona website for more information.