october 14, 2015

CBP Officers, canine find crystal meth in spare tire

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection Field Operations officers seized almost 37 pounds of crystal meth Tuesday, worth an estimated $331,560, hidden in the spare tire of a vehicle attempting to enter the United States through Arizona’s Port of Lukeville.

After CBP officers selected a 1992 Chevy Blazer for a secondary inspection, using a canine and non-intrusive inspection technology, they detected the drugs in the vehicle’s spare tire. Officers arrested the driver, Espiro Aristidi Floris, a 70-year-old U.S. citizen, turned him and the drugs over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations agents for further investigation.

“International criminal organizations continue to use every means possible to conceal and move illicit narcotics across our border,” said Garret Reinhart, the port’s chief of staff.  “CBP uses a variety of sophisticated methods to detect hidden contraband, as well as highly trained officers and their canine partners.”

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

Tucson Sector seizes more than a ton of marijuana

Tucson Sector Border Patrol agents made two significant seizures during the weekend…2,765 pounds of marijuana worth almost $1.4 million.

On Oct. 3, agents seized 1,377 pounds of marijuana just north of the international boundary near Douglas, Arizona. Agents conducting patrol duties noticed large objects apparently launched over the boundary fence just outside city limits. Agents responded and located multiple bundles of narcotics valued just under $700,000. Agents transported the bundles to the Douglas Border Patrol Station for further processing.

One day later, Ajo Border Patrol Station agents were operating a checkpoint on Highway 85, south of Gila Bend, Arizona, when a canine alerted to a camper trailer in the primary inspection lane. Agents referred the vehicle for a secondary inspection and uncovered 67 bundles of marijuana weighing 1,388 pounds. Agents seized the narcotics, vehicle and camper. The driver and occupant, identified as U.S. citizens, were arrested and transferred to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office for prosecution.

Although narcotics seizures in the Tucson Sector have declined during the past year, smugglers continue to come up with creative methods to conceal loads and circumvent detection. Tucson Sector accounts for nearly half of all narcotic seizures nationwide by the U.S. Border Patrol.

Hard work and vigilance by Tucson Sector agents continues to thwart these transnational criminal networks keen on promoting illicit narcotics sales in the United States.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials welcome assistance from the community. Citizens can report suspicious activity to the Border Patrol and remain anonymous by calling 1-877-872-7435 toll free. Contacting the Border Patrol to report illicit activity could result in saving someone’s life.

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