Drug-smuggling scouts face more jail time under new strategy

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
TUCSON, AZ (AP) -

Court records show that prosecutors are using a new strategy to seek stiffer sentences for drug-smuggling lookouts who station themselves on top of southern Arizona mountains.

The Arizona Daily Star found out that border patrol agents have begun tracking the number and size of marijuana seizures made in the line of sight of lookouts.

Those seizures are then cited by federal prosecutors when they ask judges to lengthen prison sentences for the lookouts.

The Star reported Saturday that the strategy has increased a typical plea offer for a scout with no criminal history from six months to 13 months.

The U.S. Attorney's Office has wrestled for at least four years with how to prosecute drug scouts, who often are arrested without marijuana, in Southern Arizona.

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