United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents made two major seizures involving the smuggling of marijuana into the United States.
The two separate events resulted in nearly 600 pounds of marijuana being seized, as well as the vehicles the drugs were being transported in. All of the individuals involved were arrested and turned over to the DEA.
The first incident took place in Douglas, Arizona late in the evening this past Monday. At a routine border stop, CBP officers referred a Toyota SUV driven by a 24-year-old man for secondary inspection. Upon the more intensive inspection, a CBP narcotics canine sniffed out multiple packages of marijuana hidden under the back seats of the vehicle’s rear cargo area.
The marijuana recovered from the vehicle weighed in at just over 350 pounds, giving it an estimated street value of more than $178,000. In addition to the drugs, the vehicle driven by the Mexican national was also seized. The man himself was turned over to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.
The second incident happened last Thursday during a traffic stop in Midland, Texas. The Midland Border Patrol stopped two suspicious vehicles travelling eastbound on a Texas interstate just after midnight, one a sedan and one an SUV. The vehicles were filled to the brim with people and cargo, and upon first glance at the stopped vehicles, officers noticed what appeared to be large bundles filling the back of the SUV in addition to the large number of vehicle occupants.
Several people from the SUV bailed out of the vehicle when first stopped, attempting to “tuck and roll” and escape on foot. Midland Border Patrol agents pursued and apprehended all six people who fled on foot.
Those apprehended from the SUV were Mexican nationals who had come to the United States illegally. The large bundles seen upon the initial stop turned out to be five large backpacks containing nearly 240 pounds of marijuana.
The sedan, on the other hand, yielded to law enforcement immediately and none of the passengers attempted to flee. Of the three individuals in the sedan, one was a Mexican national who had come to the United States legally; the other two were United States citizens from Odessa, Texas. All individuals in the sedan and the SUV were suspected to be involved in the attempt to smuggle the marijuana, and all were arrested, with the marijuana and vehicles being seized by the DEA.
“The Big Bend Sector relies on its stations in Midland, Fort Stockton, Lubbock and Amarillo to respond to calls for assistance from other agencies as well as to patrol the routes smugglers take as they leave the US/Mexico border. This case is a great example of experienced agents disrupting organized smugglers who were attempting to bring narcotics into one of our major cities within the Big Bend Sector’s area of responsibility,” said Acting Chief Patrol Agent, Victor M. Velazquez.
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