Thanksgiving week was no time to celebrate for the numerous drug smugglers caught with hundreds of pounds of marijuana by Border Patrol agents along the U.S.-Mexico border.
During the past week, agents seized about 800 pounds of marijuana and four vehicles, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
700 pounds of pot — with a value of $350,000 — were seized during just one bust near Naco, Arizona. The drugs were found inside of a vehicle on November 19, after the driver pulled over on the side of the road and fled the scene on foot. Ultimately, officials found the suspect, a Mexican national, hiding in a nearby house.
Another significant event occurred on November 20, when agents saw five men emerge from the desert and jump into a Jeep Commander vehicle. An agent arrested three Mexican nationals, all in the U.S. illegally, after pulling the vehicle over. The other two passengers were U.S. citizens. Officials found three firearms in the car, according to CBP: a machete and two loaded handguns.
Just one day later, agents arrested three Mexican nationals, all in the country illegally, on suspicions of smuggling activity. The arrests were made near Douglas, Arizona.
Another $43,000 worth of marijuana was seized on November 23 from a vehicle at the DeConcini crossing in Nogales, Arizona. One man was arrested in connection with the drugs after “he attempted to flee south into Mexico following a vehicle stop,” according to CBP.
Drug seizures have remained common along the U.S.-Mexico border. At one point — during the height of the 2014 border crisis — Border Patrol agents were seizing $10 million in drugs along the Texas-Mexico border each week.
“The sizes of busts vary,” Daniel Tirado, a spokesman for Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol Sector, told Breitbart Texas. He added that many of the larger seizures are made from commercial vehicles. But Tirado pointed out, “A lot of legitimate commercial traffic goes through checkpoints. Just because they’re commercial doesn’t mean that they’re transporting narcotics.” He said officers rely heavily on canines to detect the odor of drugs.
Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate.