Vehicles Flee Checkpoint, Caught Later with Marijuana, Guns
YUMA, Ariz. – Border Patrol agents working at a checkpoint in Blythe, California, seized more than $76,000 in marijuana and three weapons during separate incidents yesterday, two of which involved vehicle pursuits.
Canine teams alerted to two vehicles during separate primary inspections, resulting in the drivers being directed to a secondary inspection. In each case, instead of pulling over for the secondary inspection, the vehicles sped through the checkpoint.
One of the vehicles reached excessive speeds while passing other motorist on the shoulder of the Interstate. La Paz County Sheriff’s Office, the Quartzsite Police Department and Arizona Department of Transportation assisted in the pursuit that ended when the driver crashed into a concrete barrier. The driver, a male U.S. citizen, fled the scene on foot but was quickly captured by Blythe agents. Agents then searched the vehicle and found 147 pounds of marijuana, worth an estimated $73,500, and a loaded handgun.
During pursuit of the second vehicle, agents observed the male driver, also a U.S. citizen, throw a suitcase from one of the vehicle’s windows shortly before stopping. Agents took the driver into custody and recovered the suitcase, containing nearly 5 pounds of marijuana worth an estimated $2,400. Agents also recovered an AR-15 rifle found next to the suitcase.
A third incident at the checkpoint occurred after an agent detected a strong marijuana odor emitting from the vehicle and referred the driver for a secondary inspection. During the subsequent search, agents found a safe in the back of the vehicle containing a loaded handgun, several drug paraphernalia items, and a pound of marijuana worth about $500.
All vehicles, weapons, drugs and suspects were processed per Yuma Sector guidelines.