DOUGLAS, Ariz - U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers at the Douglas Port of Entry arrested three Mexican citizens yesterday in connection with three separate attempts to smuggle large amounts of marijuana into the United States.
At around 4:40 in the afternoon, CBP Officers at the same port of entry encountered a 21-year-old man from Agua Prieta, Mexico who was driving a GMC pickup into the U.S. Officers noticed discrepancies in the vehicle and decided to inspect the entire vehicle on suspicion that there was contraband hidden inside. With the help of another drug dog, "Bak," the officers discovered compartments built into the bed of the pickup. When the officers opened the compartments, they discovered 220 pounds of marijuana in 36 packages. The driver was arrested.
At around 7:40 in the evening, additional CBP Officers at the port of entry encountered a 24-year-old woman from Agua Prieta, Mexico who was driving at 1989 Ford F-150. Once again, the officers, suspicious of the woman's answers to routine questions, decided to search the vehicle and asked for assistance from "Nelo." After the drug dog alerted to the odor of narcotics, the officers searched the vehicle and discovered 62 pounds of marijuana in seven packages hidden inside the truck's seat. The woman was also arrested.
Total estimated street value of the more than 364 pounds of marijuana is almost $1.2 million. During fiscal year 2006, which ended on September 30, CBP officers at the Douglas port of entry seized almost 12,000 pounds of marijuana, 355 pounds of cocaine, 63 pounds of methamphetamine, and 16 pounds of heroin, with a total estimated street value of more than $50 million.
The Office of Field Operations is responsible for operations at the ports of entry. U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers' primary mission is anti-terrorism; they screen all people, vehicles, and goods entering the United States, while facilitating the flow of legitimate trade and travel into and out of the United States. Their mission also includes carrying out traditional border-related responsibilities, including narcotics interdiction, enforcing immigration law, and protecting the nation's food supply and agriculture industry from pests and diseases.
While anti-terrorism is the primary mission of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the inspection process at the ports of entry associated with this mission results in impressive numbers of enforcement actions in all categories.