Tucson, Ariz. -Border Patrol agents assigned to the Tucson Sector, a component of the Joint Field Command-Arizona, recovered two vehicles, apprehended three drug smugglers and seized more than 4,700 pounds of marijuana worth an estimated $2,351,280.
Ajo Station agents utilizing Mobile Surveillance System technology, observed a vehicle driving off-road in the West Desert Friday night. Agents and a CBP Office of Air & Marine helicopter responded to the area and discovered the vehicle abandoned and loaded with 143 bundles of marijuana in the cab and rear of the truck. The vehicle and marijuana, weighing approximately 2,433 pounds, worth $1,216,270, were transported to the Ajo Station for processing (Photos available).
On Saturday night, Ajo Station agents observed a vehicle traveling off-road in the West Desert. Horse Patrol Unit agents responded to the area and discovered the vehicle abandoned. The vehicle, containing 88 bundles of marijuana, was transported to the Ajo Station for processing. The total weight of the marijuana was 1,519 pounds with an estimated value of $759,360. The vehicle had been reported stolen out of Glendale, Ariz.
Sunday afternoon Casa Grande agents working in the West Desert, using infrared technology, spotted a group of suspected drug smugglers walking through the desert. Agents began tracking the subjects and apprehended three illegal aliens carrying large backpacks of marijuana. After a thorough search of the area, agents found 12 additional bundles of marijuana. The 15 bundles, weighing more than 751pounds and worth approximately $375,650, were transported to the Casa Grande Station for processing. The three illegal aliens are being held for prosecutions.
Smuggling contraband, either drugs or humans, is a federal crime. Smugglers frequently choose to abandon their loads rather than risk apprehension and the associated penalties.
CBP announced the JFC-AZ in February 2011 as an organizational realignment that brings together the U.S. Border Patrol, Air and Marine, and Field Operations under a unified command structure. The JFC-AZ integrates CBP's border security, commercial enforcement, and trade facilitation missions to more effectively meet the unique challenges faced in the Arizona area of operations.
Customs and Border Protection welcomes assistance from the community. Report suspicious activity to the Border Patrol by calling (877) 872-7435 toll free. All calls will be answered and remain anonymous.
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.