U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized approximately 100 pounds of methamphetamine, 55 pounds of cocaine, 5 pounds of fentanyl, and 2 pounds of heroin worth $1.7 million last week during three vehicle inspections at the Arizona border. The alleged seizures resulted in the arrests of two U.S. citizens and one Mexican national.
The initial incidents occurred last Wednesday morning during a vehicle inspection when CBP officers assigned to the Port of Nogales Dennis DeConcini Crossing contacted a 57-year-old U.S. citizen from Coolidge, Arizona, in a Saab. Officers referred the male driver to a secondary inspection station where a K-9 alerted to odors. Officers discovered 35 pounds of methamphetamine ($104,000), five pounds of fentanyl ($75,000), and more than two pounds of heroin ($60,000). The driver was arrested and turned over to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.
Later in the day, CBP officers assigned to Arizona’s Port of Lukeville contacted a 44-year-old Mexican national from Caborca, Sonora, in a Chevrolet pickup. After a search was conducted, approximately 55 pounds of cocaine was discovered worth more than $1.3 million. The driver was arrested and turned over to investigators of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The third incident occurred on Thursday night when CBP officers contacted a 29-year-old U.S. citizen from Buckeye, Arizona, at the Port of San Luis as she was attempting to cross into the United States. During an ensuing search of her vehicle, officers located approximately 64 pounds of methamphetamine concealed inside the fuel tank with an estimated value of $190,000. The female was arrested and turned over to the custody of 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.