Border agents seize marijuana, firearms and bust smuggling attemptsPosted: Updated:
TUCSON, Ariz. -- Tucson Sector Border Patrol agents seized more than 800 pounds of marijuana and two firearms with ammunition, and arrested several U.S. citizens and foreign nationals involved in smuggling activities over the past several days.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said the bulk of marijuana was seized Sunday after agents started following a suspicious Dodge Ram truck north of Amado, Ariz. After apparently realizing he was being followed, the driver accelerated, lost control and crashed in a wash.
Two people fled from the vehicle and were not located. Agents searched the vehicle and found 30 bricks of marijuana weighing more than 700 pounds.
Early in the week, a Toyota sedan left the state Route 80 checkpoint without consent. Agents soon located the vehicle and arrested the driver. The agents discovered nearly 140 pounds of marijuana in the trunk.
On Tuesday, agents stopped a vehicle with two occupants on state Route 186. After obtaining consent to search, agents found two loaded pistols, multiple ammunition rounds, marijuana cigarettes and a drug pipe.
Arizona Department of Public Safety responded to the scene and took possession of the occupants, vehicle, weapons and other contraband. The two occupants were later charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, marijuana and possession of a firearm in commission of a felony.
Later Tuesday evening, when agents attempted to stop a sedan near Bell Ranch Road in Willcox, Ariz., the vehicle fled but was later found abandoned. Agents tracked footprints that led them to two U.S. citizens and three immigrants. All five people were arrested.
On Wednesday, agents at the Interstate 19 checkpoint arrested a U.S. citizen attempting to smuggle two Mexican nationals in the trunk of his sedan. Officials said this smuggling method is especially dangerous since escape from the trunk could be difficult or impossible in an emergency.
All three were arrested. The Mexican nationals were then processed for removal proceedings in accordance with Tucson Sector prosecution guidelines.