Horse, marijuana abandoned by smugglers

horse and marijuanaAuthorities with the Santa Cruz County High Intensity Drug Trafficking (HIDTA) Investigative Task Force interdicted a large drug smuggling attempt Thursday, seizing more than 2,900 pounds of marijuana and a horse from a horse trailer on Highway 82 near Nogales.

During the course of a drug smuggling investigation, the task force developed information that a vehicle traveling south on Highway 82 from Patagonia to Nogales was pulling a horse trailer possibly laden with marijuana. Task force members, along with deputies from the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office, initiated surveillance in the area and observed a vehicle pulling a horse trailer failing to stay in its lane. A sheriff’s deputy pulled the vehicle over, and as soon as the vehicle came to a stop, the male driver fled the scene. He remains at large.

Inside the vehicle and horse trailer, authorities discovered 116 bundles of marijuana, weighing more than 2,900 pounds, as well as a horse.

No arrests have been made in the case which remains under investigation. The horse was turned over to Santa Cruz County Animal Control.

The Santa Cruz County HIDTA Investigation Task Force is a multiagency investigative and interdiction unit in Nogales spearheaded by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). The task force combats organized crime in Santa Cruz County by targeting drug trafficking organizations and providers, local distributors, stash houses and drug transportation cells. In addition to HSI, full-time members of the task force include the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Border Patrol, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office, the Santa Cruz County Attorney’s Office and the Nogales Police Department.

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