Busy weekend of marijuana seizures at Nogales border crossing

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NOGALES - The following is a press release from U.S. Customs and Border Protection:

This weekend, CBP Officers at the Nogales Port of Entry seized close to a quarter of a million dollars worth of marijuana.

The first seizure occurred on Friday just after 10 in the morning when a CBP Officer noticed some mechanical discrepancies with a pickup truck. Upon further investigation officers discovered a hidden access door in the bed of the pickup truck. Once access to the non-factory compartment was achieved, officers found 20 packages containing 132 pounds of marijuana.

While the inspection of the first vehicle was still being conducted, a second car was entering the inspection area. During the inspection, CBP Officers utilized a narcotics detection dog that alerted to the presence of a narcotic odor emanating from the speaker box of the car. The speaker box was removed from the car and scanned by an x-ray machine. The x-ray image of the speaker box clearly showed six packages were hidden inside. The speaker box was taken apart and 15 pounds of marijuana was removed.

The third seizure on Friday occurred just before eight o'clock in the evening when an SUV was selected for inspection based on inconsistencies with the tires on the vehicle. During the inspection process, a narcotics detection dog alerted to the tires of the vehicle. The tires were removed and scanned by an x-ray unit. During the x-ray examination, officers could clearly see 16 packages were hidden within the tires. CBP Officers cut into the tires and removed 155 pounds of marijuana.

The next significant seizure occurred on Saturday just after two in the afternoon during a K-9 special operation. While inspecting cars, one of the narcotics detection dogs alerted to the presence of a narcotic odor coming form the vehicle. Based on the alert form the K-9, officers began to search the car and noticed that the back seat of the car was unusually hard. Upon further examination of the seats, officers discovered 11 packages containing 44 pounds of marijuana.

Around 5 o'clock at night on Saturday, officers working a special operation selected a car for inspection. During the inspection of the vehicle, officers noticed that the back seat was very hard. The officers requested assistance form a narcotics detection dog that confirmed their suspicions that narcotics were hidden in the backseat of the car. The seat was removed and officers found eight packages containing 33 pounds of marijuana.

The impressive weekend of seizures ended on Sunday just after three o'clock in the afternoon. Based on inconsistencies with the gas tank, the car was selected for inspection. During the inspection, CBP Officers noticed some packages floating in the gas tank. The tank was removed and officers found 20 packages containing over 16 pounds of marijuana floating within the tank.

In all of the above mentioned cases, the drivers of the vehicles were detained and turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for further investigation. Along with the apprehensions, CBP also seized the contraband and the vehicles involved.

In addition to the 395 pounds of marijuana seized, officers stationed in Nogales also intercepted two people with personal use marijuana, 30 individuals attempting to illegally enter the country, 3 arrests for outstanding warrants and found a missing juvenile.

The Office of Field Operations is responsible for securing our borders at the ports of entry. U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers' primary mission is anti-terrorism; they screen all people, conveyances, and goods entering the United States, while facilitating the flow of legitimate trade and travel into and out of the United States. Their mission also includes carrying out traditional border-related responsibilities, including narcotics interdiction, enforcing immigration law, protecting the nation's food supply and agriculture industry from pests and diseases, and enforcing trade laws.

While anti-terrorism is the primary mission of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the inspection process at the ports of entry associated with this mission results in impressive numbers of enforcement actions in all categories.