Two-Week Border Enforcement Operation Yields 467 Arrests, $12.5 Million

Central American immigrants sit after turning themselves in to U.S. Border Patrol agents on December 8, 2015 near Rio Grande City, Texas. They had just illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border into Texas to seek asylum
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U.S. and Mexican authorities arrested 467 people at the southwest border in a binational, multi-day effort cracking down on transnational criminal smuggling organizations working in and near Nogales.

The enforcement action, dubbed operation “Double Threat” in the U.S. and “Relampago Azul” in Mexico, focused on breaking up criminal organizations on both sides of the border and took place over 14 days from April 17 – 30.

“Authorities used a targeted enforcement approach to focus on illegal activities in high-traffic areas around Nogales,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a release. “Throughout the operation, U.S. officials analyzed traffic trends and patterns in coordination with Mexican authorities and deployed assets based on joint risk assessments.”

The Tucson Sector Border Patrol, with help from Air and Marine Operations, worked with officials from Mexico in what CBP termed “mirrored enforcement” focused on disrupting the groups’ lawless activities. Tucson Sector’s Foreign Operations Branch coordinated the effort.

In addition to the arrests, authorities also seized $12.5 million worth of marijuana, 11 stolen vehicles, $250,000 in U.S. currency and $16,392 in Mexican pesos

“Some of these drugs were seized in Mexico before they even had a chance to cross the border and further endanger our communities,” Tucson Sector Chief Paul Beeson said in a statement, going on to praise the coordinated border effort.

According to CBP, “the operation resulted in a 44 percent drop in illegal entries in the area of Nogales, Arizona.”

“The binational operation shows how the integration of information and mirrored enforcement can further secure our borders,” Beeson added.