Footprints in the sand led Tucson and Yuma Sector Border Patrol agents to a series of arrests where illegal aliens carried 1,400 pounds of marijuana into southern Arizona.
Early Monday morning, agents assigned to the Ajo Station began tracking a group of drug mules who had crossed the border in Gila Bend. The agents observed the group carrying large backpacks as they marched through the desert, information obtained from Tucson Sector Public Affairs Spokesman Jack Loudermilk revealed.
Agents caught up with the group as they entered a wash near Main Street in Gila Bend. As agents approached the group, the “drug mules” dropped their backpacks and fled into town. Agents recovered 33 bundles of marijuana weighing 690 pounds. A K-9 agent helped in the recovery effort.
The migrants fled the scene and have yet to be apprehended, Loudermilk stated. Officials estimated the street value of the marijuana to be $345,000.
That same morning, agents assigned to the Welton Border Patrol Station tracked the footprints of nine individuals. Agents caught up with the group near Tacna. The mules carried backpacks containing 340 pounds of marijuana. Agents arrested the smugglers and seized the drugs.
Later that day, agents assigned to the Welton Station’s Camp Grip operating base found more than 370 pounds of marijuana. Smugglers apparently abandoned the drugs south of Dateland.
Agents processed the illegal aliens according to Tucson Sector policies. Federal authorities filed criminal complaints against those arrested with the backpacks of marijuana.
Officials estimated the 710 pounds of marijuana seized in these two incidents to be worth more than $350,000, Loudermilk stated.
In total, agents seized 1,400 pounds of marijuana worth nearly $700,000.
Yuma and Tucson Sector agents cover the southwestern border across Arizona and into eastern California.