U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized approximately 320 pounds of methamphetamine, 32 pounds of marijuana along with heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine worth $1.3 million over the weekend during four vehicle inspections at the Arizona border. The alleged seizures resulted in the arrests of one U.S. citizen and three Mexican nationals.
The initial incidents occurred Friday morning during two separate vehicle inspections when CBP officers assigned to the Port of Nogales Dennis DeConcini Crossing contacted a 37-year-old Mexican national from Hermosillo, Sonora, in a Ford truck. Officers referred the male driver to a secondary inspection station where a canine alerted to odors. Officers discovered 57 pounds of methamphetamine, with an estimated value of $171,000.
About one hour later, CBP officers assigned to the Nogales Mariposa Crossing contacted a 24-year-old male Mexican national from Nogales, Sonora, in a Jeep SUV. A K-9 led to a concealed cache of drugs consisting of nearly 21 pounds of meth, worth nearly $63,000; more than six pounds of heroin, worth $164,000, five pounds of cocaine, worth more than $121,000; and a pound of fentanyl, worth almost $16,000. Both vehicles and drugs were seized.
The next incident took place on Saturday when CBP officers at the Port of Lukeville contacted a 46-year-old Mexican national from Caborca, Sonora, in a Chevrolet truck. Officers discovered more than 214 pounds of meth ($643,000), 32 pounds of marijuana ($16,000), and more than two pounds of fentanyl ($33,000).
The final seizure took place on Sunday when CBP officers at the Port of San Luis contacted a 26-year-old woman from Yuma, Arizona, driving a Honda sedan. Officers reportedly discovered packages containing methamphetamine concealed within the fuel tank. The weight of the packages registered at nearly 28 pounds with a value of approximately $83,000.
All vehicles and suspected drivers were turned over to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.
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.