SAN DIEGO — A specialty unit within U.S. Border Patrol provided training and equipment to Mexican officials which later supported their discovery and eradication of a huge illegal marijuana grow site in Mexico on June 11, 2019.
Agents from San Diego Sector (SDC) and El Centro Sector (ELC) as well as their respective Foreign Operations Branches (FOB) recently led a Bi-National Border Operations Academy that provided training to Government of Mexico (GoM) Policia Federal (PF) officials in April and May.
The purpose of the Binational Academy was to familiarize GoM personnel with new tactics and strategies to include intelligence gathering, situational awareness, target enforcement operations, building entry, land navigation, and first aid. The academy also provided PF officials with new equipment.
The recent training came into play on June 6, when PF executed a mission in an area south of the eastern edge of San Diego County in Mexico. There, authorities located an illegal marijuana grow site previously reported from intelligence gathering. Both the Tijuana and Mexicali based PF Liaison Units were deployed but were unable to traverse to the site because of inadequate roads and insufficient equipment.
On June 11, PF traveled back to the grow site using 4x4 trucks and all-terrain vehicles provided by the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) initiative. Additionally, PF utilized surveillance equipment to scout out the area and gather information on any possible safety threats.
Once at the location, PF used Global Positioning System (GPS) devices to disseminate their exact location to other team members. The GPS equipment was previously provided during the Bi-National Border Operations Academy.
The approximate size of the marijuana grow site was 13 square miles, containing over 42,000 plants and weighing nearly 70,000 lbs. and had an estimated street value of $276,900,000. All of the plants were destroyed on site.
This significant drug seizure is an excellent example of the effective collaboration among law enforcement agencies in the United States and Mexico. A key component of our strategy is intelligence sharing between CBP and its law enforcement partners, including the government of Mexico. This undoubtedly fosters a safer and more secure border environment that advances our goal to dismantle and defeat the transnational criminal organizations that threaten the safety of our country.