Arrests of illegal crossers in AZ at historic lows

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX (AP) -- U.S. Customs and Border Protection says apprehensions of illegal border crossers in Arizona dropped to the lowest levels in 19 years for fiscal year 2012.

The agency reports apprehensions dropped to 124,631, and have fallen more than 82 percent since the highest numbers in 2000.

The number of agents stationed in Arizona, meanwhile, rose to the highest level with more than 5,100 in the state.

The agency says it also seized more than $500 million worth of illegal drugs in Arizona.

CBP reports that agents processed about 22 million travelers crossing through Arizona ports of entry, stopping roughly 6,000 people identified as national security risks or possessing insufficient documentation.

Operations aimed at cracking down on drug cartels, meanwhile, netted more than $5 million cash, handguns, rifles and ammunition.