october 7, 2015

Border Patrol Activity

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Border Patrol agents arrest 17 smugglers, 15 imposters and seize nearly 500 pounds of marijuana

Actions by agents in separate incidents during the weekend resulted in the arrest of 15 imposters, 17 smugglers and the seizure of nearly 500 pounds of marijuana in Wellton.

Fifteen individuals posing as legal residents were arrested at the Wellton Station checkpoint on Interstate 8, east of Yuma, in separate incidents Oct. 2 and 3. All were Mexican nationals, and each presented valid, but falsely acquired, immigration documents during a secondary inspection of a commercial conveyance. Members of the group falsely claimed U.S. citizenship by presenting U.S. passports and lawfully-admitted permanent resident cards belonging to individuals other than themselves. It is unknown if any of the documents were reported stolen.

Agents arrested 17 Mexican nationals during separate smuggling incidents near Sentinel, Arizona, Oct. 2 and 3. Agents encountered each group south of Interstate 8, attempting to smuggle marijuana into the United States. A total 490 pounds of marijuana, worth an estimated $245,450, was seized.

All subjects and drugs will be processed per Yuma Sector guidelines.

Nogales CBP Officers seize $1.6M in hard drugs

Customs and Border Protection officers arrested five men and two women during separate weekend attempts to smuggle cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine through the Port of Nogales. The drugs seized have an estimated value of nearly $1.6 million.

Officers at the Mariposa crossing selected Maria Lopez-Arvizu, 21, and her passenger, Mariana Lopez-Carrasco, 21, both from Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, for further inspection the Chevrolet SUV they were traveling in on Sept. 25. A CBP narcotics-detection canine then alerted officers to more than 43 pounds of cocaine, worth in excess of $453,000, and nearly 42 pounds of methamphetamine, worth almost $125,000, in the vehicle’s headliner.

Meanwhile, officers at the Dennis DeConcini crossing referred Donato Garcia-Sanchez, 43, of Rio Rico, Arizona, for further inspection of his Mazda SUV. After a CBP narcotics detection canine alerted to a rear quarter panel, officers found more than 10 pounds of cocaine worth approximately $109,000.

A short time earlier, officers located nearly eight pounds of heroin and more than 28 pounds of cocaine within an SUV crossing through the SENTRI lane at the DeConcini crossing. The vehicle, driven by Francisco Alejandro Betancourt-Valenzuela, 44, of Tucson, contained an estimated $107,000 worth of heroin and more than $295,000 in cocaine.

On Sept. 26, officers at the DeConcini crossing referred Sergio Archuleta-Lopez, 47, of Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, for a secondary inspection of his Mazda. A CBP canine team alerted officers to nearly 17 pounds of meth hidden behind the front and rear bumpers. The drugs are valued at nearly $51,000.

The following day (Sept. 27), officers at the Mariposa crossing referred Juan Manuel Flores-Mora, 26, of Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, and his passenger, Gonzalo Eduardo Saiz-Moreno, 24, of Empalme, Sonora, Mexico, for a secondary inspection of Flores’ Honda sedan. A canine team then alerted officers to more than seven pounds of cocaine, 12-plus pounds of meth and more than 22 pounds of heroin within the floor of the vehicle. Combined, the drugs are worth an estimated $426,000.   

Officers processed the vehicles and drugs for seizure, and referred the seven subjects to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

Douglas CBP Officers seize $197K in marijuana

Customs and Border Protection officers arrested two Tucson residents in separate incidents within the past day at the Port of Douglas, involving the seizure of almost 395 pounds of marijuana.

Officers arrested Cesar Abraham Cruz, 23, overnight after an inspection of his Jeep led to the discovery of more than 156 pounds of marijuana, worth more than $78,000, hidden throughout the vehicle.

Officers also arrested a Mexican national man, living legally in Tucson, after a CBP narcotics-detection canine alerted to the presence of drugs within a Ford SUV. Sixto Siqueiros-Tolano, 34, was taken into custody after the discovery of nearly 239 pounds of marijuana, worth an estimated $119,000, concealed throughout the vehicle.

Officers seized all drugs and vehicles, and turned both subjects over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

Federal law allows officers to charge individuals by complaint, a method that allows the filing of charges for criminal activity without inferring guilt. An individual is presumed innocent unless and until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

CBP's Office of Field Operations is the primary organization within Homeland Security tasked with an anti-terrorism mission at our nation’s ports. CBP officers screen all people, vehicles and goods entering the United States while facilitating the flow of legitimate trade and travel. Their mission also includes carrying out border-related duties, including narcotics interdiction, enforcing immigration and trade laws, and protecting the nation's food supply and agriculture industry from pests and diseases.

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