Tucson Sector Border Patrol agents stopped multiple smuggling attempts at southern Arizona immigration checkpoints in recent days.
Last week, a canine team from the Willcox Border Patrol Station working at the State Route 90 checkpoint north of Whetstone, Ariz., referred a Kia Optima for a secondary inspection after a canine alert during an immigration inspection. Agents removed two illegal immigrants hiding in the trunk of the vehicle. The vehicle was equipped with an interior emergency trunk release. The illegal immigrants, found to be in good health, stated that they were not made aware of this feature, demonstrating the smuggler’s disregard for the safety of the individuals. The vehicle’s driver, a United States citizen, faces federal prosecution for human smuggling.
In a separate event on Saturday evening, Willcox Station agents, working at the State Route 90 checkpoint, arrested one U.S. citizen and three illegal immigrants after a vehicle attempted to abscond from agents conducting an immigration inspection. Once the 1999 Subaru finally yielded, agents apprehended three Mexican Nationals and a U.S. citizen driver. The vehicle was seized and all occupants were processed according to Tucson Sector guidelines.
Yesterday morning, Willcox Station agents, working at the State Route 80 checkpoint north of Tombstone, Ariz., arrested a U.S. citizen after a primary inspection alert from a canine led to the discovery of 182 bricks of marijuana concealed in aftermarket compartments. The smuggler used all of the Chevrolet conversion van’s natural factory voids to construct compartments made of particle board. The marijuana, weighing 282 pounds, is valued at $140,850. The vehicle was seized and the driver faces federal prosecution for drug smuggling.
Checkpoints effectively restrict major routes of egress from the border, hindering smugglers’ ability to move people, drugs and other contraband further into the United States. Canine teams working in conjunction with agents at the checkpoint increase the effectiveness of operations by securing the United States and allowing the safe apprehension of illegal immigrants put in potentially dangerous situations.
Customs and Border Protection welcomes assistance from the community. Citizens can report suspicious activity to the Border Patrol and remain anonymous by calling (877)872-7435 toll free.