United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers assigned to the Arizona border with Mexico seized nearly $2.5 million in drugs, including 43 pounds of heroin, during five separate inspections this week. In addition to the heroin, officers seized 240 pounds of methamphetamine, 23 pounds of cocaine, and a quarter-pound of fentanyl for a total value of $2,419,940.
The incidents began on Wednesday, November 5 when CBP officers at Arizona’s Port of Nogales at the Dennis DeConcini Crossing came in contact with a 52-year-old Green Valley, Arizona man. The officers referred the man to a secondary inspection station to carry out a search of his Dodge pick-up truck. A narcotics detection canine alerted to a scent it was trained to detect within the truck’s bed, according to information obtained from CBP officials.
Officers found approximately 70 packages of drugs. The haul included more than 49 pounds of meth worth an estimated $148,000; almost 43 pounds of heroin, worth more than $1.15M; and a quarter-pound of fentanyl, worth more than $3,400. Officers seized the drugs and turned the man over to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.
That same day, Border Patrol agents assigned to the Yuma Sector’s Welton Station working the Interstate 8 Immigration Checkpoint came in contact with a U.S. citizen 28-year-old female and her nine-year-old daughter in a Ford Explorer. The agents referred her to a secondary station for further secondary inspection, officials stated.
A narcotics detection canine alerted to a scent and agents found 52 cellophane-wrapped packages concealed inside the vehicle. The packages tested positive for methamphetamine. The drugs weighed 59.18 pounds and were valued at $177,540. Agents arrested the driver on smuggling charges and turned her nine-year-old daughter over to Child Protective Services.
The next seizure occurred on Thursday, when CBP officers assigned to the Port of San Luis, Arizona, came in contact with a 31-year-old male from San Luis driving a Ford truck. The officers referred the man to a secondary inspection station. A drug canine alerted to a scent inside the truck’s spare tire. A search of the tire resulted in the discovery of nearly 60 packages of methamphetamine worth almost $199,000. Officers turned the man over to Homeland Security Investigators.
The next incident also occurred on Thursday, when CBP officers assigned to Arizona’s Port of Nogales at the Dennis DeConcini Crossing came in contact with a 35-year-old male from Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico. The man was driving a Nissan SUV. Officers referred him to a secondary inspection where a narcotics canine alerted to the vehicle’s dashboard. Officers searched the area and subsequently found nearly 23 pounds of cocaine valued at almost $546,000. Officers seized the drugs and vehicle and handed the man over to investigators.
The most recent seizure occurred on December 7 when Yuma Sector Border Patrol agents assigned to Wellton station stopped a suspicious vehicle in Dome Valley. A lawful permanent resident alien from Mexico drove the vehicle. Border Patrol agents deployed a canine which led to the discovery of 90 concealed packages of methamphetamine inside the vehicle. The drugs weighed 65.34 pounds and have a street value of $196,020, officials stated.
Robert Arce is a retired Phoenix Police detective with extensive experience working Mexican organized crime and street gangs. Arce has worked in the Balkans, Iraq, Haiti, and recently completed a three-year assignment in Monterrey, Mexico, working out of the Consulate for the United States Department of State, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Program, where he was the Regional Program Manager for Northeast Mexico (Coahuila, Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Durango, San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas.) You can follow him on Twitter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org