364 Pounds of Meth Seized at Arizona Border

Drugs found by California National Guardsman during inspection at Border Patrol impound lot. (Photo: U.S. Customs and Border Protection)
FILE Photo: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

The United States Customs and Border Protection arrested three Mexican nationals involved in failed smuggling attempts of methamphetamine, fentanyl, oxycodone, and heroin in Arizona over the past weekend.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced the arrests of two drug smugglers in unrelated attempts that were detected by K-9 teams working the DeConcini Crossing in Nogales, Arizona, approximately 180 miles south of Phoenix.

In the first arrest, CBP officers referred a 38-year-old male for further inspection of his vehicle on July 6. Following a positive alert from a K-9, officers seized more than 21 pounds of cocaine from the vehicle’s firewall, worth an estimated $239,200.

The second arrest occurred on July 7 when CBP officers at the Mariposa Commercial Facility referred a 65-year-old male for further inspection of the tractor-trailer he was driving into the United States. A CBP K-9 alerted to an odor, leading to the discovery of more than 364 pounds of methamphetamine, worth almost $1,092,300; six pounds of heroin, worth more than $100,000; almost 7 pounds of fentanyl, worth more than $95,000; and 6,000 suspected oxycodone pills, with a value of nearly $113,000.

The second seizure of the meth is the third largest of its kind by a CBP port of entry in Arizona.

Officers seized the drugs and both vehicles. Both subjects were arrested and then turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

In a third unrelated seizure, Nogales Station Border Patrol agents arrested a 31-year-old Mexican man near the international boundary fence Monday evening for illegally entering the United States and narcotics smuggling.

Border Patrol agents observed a man with suspected narcotics bundle strapped to his back climb over the international boundary fence west of the Port of Nogales’ Dennis DeConcini Crossing and enter a 2004 Ford Explorer. Agents followed the vehicle as it headed east toward Nogales until it stopped in a nearby parking lot. The man exited the vehicle and led agents on a short foot pursuit before being taken into custody.

A subsequent search of the vehicle turned up a large bundle of suspected narcotics. Within, agents found several plastic containers with more than 16 pounds of crystal methamphetamine worth approximately $49,000. Agents seized the drugs and vehicle. The man faces felony charges for narcotics smuggling and immigration violations.

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 robertrarce@gmail.com

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