Coordinated CBP Patrols Net Nearly 4,600 Pounds of Marijuana in Less Than 48 Hours

Tucson, Ariz. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection U.S. Border Patrol agents, working with the Office of Air and Marine, seized more than 3,400 pounds of marijuana found in two stolen vehicles Tuesday.

Bundles of marijuana that smugglers attempted to conceal with brush.

Willcox, Ariz., agents seized another 200 pounds Wednesday and Sonoita, Ariz., agents discovered 980 pounds early today. Combined, the marijuana seized by Tucson Sector agents is valued at more than $3.6 million.

On Tuesday, OAM air interdiction officers on patrol noticed two suspicious vehicles covered with tarps near Stanfield, Ariz., and contacted Border Patrol agents in the area for support. When agents from the Casa Grande Station arrived, they discovered two pickup trucks containing a total of 159 bundles of marijuana.

Record checks revealed that both vehicles had been reported stolen. The marijuana, valued at more than $2.7 million, was taken to the Casa Grande station for processing. The trucks were turned over to the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

Yesterday, a canine team from the Willcox station assigned to operations at the Highway 90 checkpoint alerted to the presence of illicit contraband and a vehicle was referred to secondary. Agents at the secondary inspection discovered 200 pounds of marijuana concealed within a compartment. The marijuana, valued at more than $177,000, and the vehicle were seized. The driver was held for prosecution.

Early this morning, an agent assigned to the Sonoita station was working with a handheld infrared camera and spotted a group of suspected illegal aliens. Agents responding to the area discovered 20 bundles of marijuana abandoned it the scrub brush.

The agents searched the area for the subjects but were unable to locate anyone. The marijuana was taken to the Sonoita station for processing. It weighed in at more than 980 pounds, and it is valued at more than $780,000.

The Border Patrol remains vigilant at foiling smugglers attempts to conceal their loads. Cooperation and coordination between the Border Patrol and OAM continues to yield results. The Border Patrol is dedicated to working with all local, state, federal and tribal law enforcement agencies to stem the flow of illicit activity from entering our communities.

From Oct. 1, 2009, to May 31, 2010, the Tucson Sector Border Patrol seized over 712,000 pounds of marijuana exceeding $569 million in value.

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