Press Release from US Customs and Border Protection September 6, 2011:
Significant Week Sonoita Border Patrol Station Seizes
More Than 3,000 Pounds of Marijuana
TUCSON, Ariz. – Sonoita Station Border Patrol agents seized approximately 3,250 pounds of marijuana valued at more than $1,625,500 in five separate incidents since Sunday.
A Border Patrol canine team was tracking footprints of a group of possible illegal aliens Sunday when the service canine alerted to the presence of narcotics. An immediate search of the area revealed six bundles of marijuana abandoned on the trail. The bundles had a combined weight of just less than 279 pounds and valued at $139,000.
In another incident Sunday, agents responded to a detection sensor and found five bundles of abandoned marijuana weighing more than 218 pounds. The bundles were estimated to be worth approximately $109,000.
Agents stopped two vehicles Tuesday traveling in tandem and with false vehicle license plates. The female driver of the first vehicle, a U.S.citizen, was detained when agents discovered a false compartment in the vehicle containing 53 packages of marijuana weighing more than 312 pounds and valued at $156,000. Concurrently, agents stopped the second vehicle and apprehended two male passengers who admitted to working with the female driver of the first vehicle. The three subjects are being criminally prosecuted.
Wednesday afternoon, an agent encountered an abandoned pickup truck with 75 bundles of marijuana weighing 1,840 pounds and valued at $920,000.
In another incident Wednesday, Sonoita agents stopped a suspicious vehicle with modifications indicative of narcotics smuggling. Agents interviewed the driver, a Mexican citizen with a Permanent Resident Card, who gave agents permission to search his vehicle. After a Border Patrol canine team alerted to the presence of narcotics, agents discovered 60 packages of marijuana in a concealed compartment. The packages had a combined weight of almost 282 pounds and with a value of $140,500. The driver is being held for prosecution.
In each incident, agents transported the marijuana and vehicles to the Sonoita Station for processing.
According to Michael Hyatt, Patrol Agent in Charge of the Sonoita Station, the Tucson Sector deploys a combination of technology, infrastructure, and agents to effectively patrol the border, deter smuggling activity and interdict smugglers. Specialty units, such as canine teams,” he said, “continue to assist agents in the field while old-fashioned tracking skills continue to be a valuable component in the Border Patrol’s arsenal of tools and techniques. The men and women of the Sonoita Border Patrol Station are taking our enforcement efforts to the next level.”
Since launching the Southwest Border Initiative in March 2009, the Department of Homeland Security has made significant investments toward establishing a secure and safe border environment to improve the quality of life throughoutArizonacommunities.
Customs and Border Protection welcomes assistance from the community. To report suspicious activity to the Border Patrol by calling 1-877-872-7435 toll free. All calls will be answered and remain anonymous.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with management, control and protection of our nation’s borders at and between official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.