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52 pounds of cocaine seized at Nogales entry

Authorities arrested two women separately trying to smuggle 52 pounds of cocaine through the Nogales Port of Entry during heavy traffic on Thursday, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman said.

“Smugglers try to blend in with legitimate traffic,” Port Director James Tong said in a press release. Spokesman Brian Levin said the port was busier than usual because of Thanksgiving but no figures were available Friday.

A 36-year-old woman from Nogales, Son., was arrested when officers found 28 pounds of cocaine in a hidden compartment of the sport utility vehicle she was driving, Levin said. The drugs had an estimated street value of $474,000.

Officers found the other 24 pounds in a minivan driven by a 38-year-old woman from Nogales, Son., Levin said. The 10 packages, worth about $401,000, were stashed in a built-in compartment.

Officers became suspicious of both drivers because of their answers to routine questions. Levin said. Drug-sniffing dogs helped in both cases.

Levin said CBP officers on Wednesday arrested a man wanted on an attempted murder charge in Monterey County, central California, at the San Luis Port of Entry.

Manuel Ramos, 19, of Soledad, Calif., was a passenger in a car whose driver was listed as suspicious in CBP databases, Levin said.

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