April 27, 2016

Agents arrest two men convicted for sex crimes against children

Sergio Galaz-Coronado

Tucson Sector Border Patrol agents recently arrested two male Mexican nationals previously convicted on charges relating to crimes against minors.

Agents first apprehended Sergio Galaz-Coronado, 38, outside of Douglas, Arizona, on April 15. During a subsequent biometric-records check, agents found Galaz was arrested by the Maricopa County Sherriff’s Office in 2001 for sexual conduct with a minor under the age of 15. He was subsequently sentenced to six months in jail and 10 years of probation before being deported.

The following day, agents assigned to the Casa Grande Border Patrol Station arrested Esteban Aparicio-Molina, 32, outside of Cowlic, Arizona. He had served 12 years in prison for multiple charges relating to inappropriate sexual contact with a child, including sexual assault.

Both subjects, classified as aggravated felons for their prior convictions, face additional criminal charges and stiffer penalties for their illegal re-entry into the United States. They remain in Border Patrol custody pending the outcome of these proceedings.

Nogales CBP Officers seize $7.4M in marijuana

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Mariposa Commercial Facility in Nogales, Arizona, seized $7.4 million in marijuana – approximately 14,800 pounds – from a Mexican national April 21 when he attempted to enter the United States.

After an alert by a CBP narcotics-detection canine, officers found the drugs co-mingled within a shipment of watermelons in a tractor-trailer driven by a 51-year-old driver from Nogales, Sonora, Mexico.

Officers seized the tractor trailer and shipment. The driver was arrested and referred to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

The incident represents the third largest such seizure of marijuana at an Arizona port of entry.

Nogales CBP Officers Seize $793K in Hard Drugs

Customs and Border Protection officers arrested two Mexican nationals and a Honduran national for attempting to smuggle 100 pounds of cocaine and methamphetamine through the Port of Nogales on April 20.

Officers at the Mariposa crossing referred a 44-year-old Mexican national for further inspection of his Volkswagen and found nearly 20 pounds of cocaine, worth almost $223,000, in the rear speaker area.

At about the same time, officers at the Dennis DeConcini crossing referred a 66-year-old Honduran driver for an additional search of her Pontiac sedan. Officers removed a combination of meth and cocaine from the vehicle’s rear door panel. The haul consisted of nearly 24 pounds of cocaine and more than 40 pounds of meth. Combined, the drugs are valued at more than $390,000.

Later in the day, officers at the Mariposa crossing arrested a 25-year-old Mexican national after a CBP narcotics canine alerted to the presence of drugs within his vehicle’s drive shaft. Officers found nearly 16 pounds of cocaine worth almost $180,000.

CBP officers seized the drugs and vehicles, and turned the subjects over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

Joint Operation results in 42 illegals captured

A Homeland Security Investigations effort, coordinated through Joint Task Force-West partner agencies in Arizona, led to the April 18 arrest of a man driving a tractor-trailer near Rio Rico…loaded with 42 undocumented aliens. 

Based on an investigative lead, HSI agents notified Department of Homeland Security’s Joint Intelligence Operations Center that suspected illegal aliens were hiding in some brush north of Nogales, Arizona. JIOC staff then coordinated with the U.S. Border Patrol, Air and Marine Operations, and the Arizona Department of Public Safety for air and interdiction support.

From high above the scene, an aircrew from AMO reported seeing a group of people leaving the brush and climbing into the back of a tractor-trailer.

At approximately 9 p.m., DPS stopped the northbound tractor-trailer on Interstate 19 near Tubac. The undocumented aliens and male driver (a U.S. citizen) were transferred to Border Patrol custody in Nogales. 

Processing and investigations are ongoing by the Nogales Office of HSI and Border Patrol.

“This collaborative law enforcement action was made possible because multiple agencies work together through the Joint Task Force-West Arizona,” explained JTF-W, Arizona Commander Paul Beeson. “These types of coordinated efforts leverage partner agency capabilities and jurisdictional authorities to dismantle criminal networks.”

The Joint Task Force-West, Arizona integrates the capabilities of several components within the Department of Homeland Security. Its mission is to target and dismantle transnational criminal organizations from the point of origin to the point of destination in Arizona, as part of the Southern Borders and Approaches Campaign. The JTF-West, headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, has established corridors in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and West and South Texas. Follow us on Twitter @JTFWest.

Douglas CBP Officers seize $154K in marijuana

Customs and Border Protection officers at the Raul Hector Castro Port of Entry in Douglas, Arizona recently stopped two Mexican women for separate attempts to smuggle a combined 309 pounds of marijuana worth more than $154,000.

After a CBP narcotics-detection canine alerted to a Pontiac sedan on April 19, driven by a 29-year-old woman from Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico, officers found more than 238 pounds of marijuana worth in excess of $119,000.

On April 15, officers arrested a 27-year-old woman from Cananea, Sonora, Mexico after finding nearly 71 pounds of marijuana in the headliner of her Jeep SUV. Officers found the drugs, worth more than $35,000, with the help of a drug canine.

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

San Luis CBP Officers’ Weekend Not So Typical

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Port of San Luis recently arrested one woman with more than $16,000 in methamphetamine taped to her abdomen, and two men on bicycles with approximately $1,500 worth of marijuana inside the bikes’ frames.

A CBP officer working at the port on April 16 requested a canine inspection of two suspicious-looking bicycles ridden by a 26-year-old male, and a 27-year-old male; both U.S. citizens. After the canine alerted to an odor it was trained to detect, inspectors found three packages of marijuana in each of the bicycle frames. The drugs had a combined weight of approximately three pounds.  

Both men, their bicycles and drugs were turned over to the San Luis Police Department.

On April 17, a CBP canine team working at the pedestrian crossing alerted to a 33-year-old San Luis, Arizona San Luis, Arizona woman. Officers then conducted a personal search of the subject and found a thick, plastic vacuum-sealed package shaped to her upper abdominal area. Officers removed the package and, inside, discovered more than five pounds of methamphetamine.  

Officers turned the subject over to Homeland Security Investigations.

Smugglers continue to endanger illegals by locking them in vehicle trunks

Tucson Sector Border Patrol agents arrested human smugglers attempting to traffic migrants in the trunk of their vehicles during two incidents.

Nogales Station agents working at the I-19 checkpoint on April 16 referred the driver of a Pontiac sedan for a secondary inspection but the driver sped away. Agents followed the driver until he stopped the vehicle a short time later. During a search of the vehicle, agents discovered a Guatemalan juvenile locked in the trunk with no means of escape.

Douglas Station agents stopped a Buick Le Sabre on April 18 and observed three individuals in the rear seat hiding under a blanket. After confirming that all passengers were illegally present in the United States, the agent searched the vehicle and found three more subjects locked in the trunk. 

Several of the subjects removed from the vehicles said they had no knowledge of a trunk release mechanism. Although none of the individuals involved were injured, traveling with a person in the trunk of a moving vehicle is dangerous due to heat, the possibility of an accident, or other unforeseen circumstances.

Agents processed all vehicles, drivers and undocumented subjects in accordance with Tucson Sector guidelines.

Customs and Border Protection welcomes assistance from the community. Citizens can report suspicious activity to the Border Patrol and remain anonymous by calling 1-877-872-7435 toll free.

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.