Drug smuggler is ‘framed’ with his own paintings
While it ia, thought that artwork can appreciate in value over the years, one border crosseer tired to speed up the process.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers stopped a drug-smuggling attempt when they seized 6 large paintings with the frames full of packages of marijuana.
On April 3 at about 8:30 p.m., CBP Officers selected a large van driven by a 55-year-old man from Phoenix for a routine inspection. CBP Officers became suspicious when a special K-9 team alerted to 6 large paintings that were being transported in the back of the van. The paintings were professionally done with very nicely constructed frames. An x-ray of the large frames revealed packages concealed within the frames. More than 90 pounds of marijuana with an estimated street value of $153,000 were removed from the 6 large painting frames.
“Smugglers are very clever in their deceitful methods in order to disguise their smuggling efforts”, said Ernestine Morris, Assistant Port Director at the Douglas Port Of Entry“This is a perfect example of how alert our CBP Officers have to be; on the surface every thing has the appearance of innocence. Every CBP Officer has a solemn responsibility to discern all that is good from any thing that could pose a potential threat to our society or national security. It is this relentless attention to detail that continues to strengthen our borders day and night”.
CBP Officers seized the vehicle, paintings and marijuana. The Phoenix man was turned over to the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement for further investigation.
Police stop vehicle with Marijuana hidden in floor boards
On March 19, 2009, Douglas Police stopped a white 1971 Dodge conversion van on Hwy 191 for a traffic violation. Police made contact with the female driver of the vehicle and noticed that the driver seemed unusually nervous, more nervous than other drivers during routine traffic stops. Police inquired further into the driver’s nervous demeanor. Police requested and obtained consent, from the driver, to search the vehicle for any contraband.
The search of the vehicle led to the discovery of abnormalities to the floor board of the vehicle. Police suspected a hidden compartment. Police summoned a U.S. Customs and Border Protection drug sniffing canine from the U.S. Port of Entry. The canine alerted to the possible presence of drugs in the rear floor board of the van. The van was taken to the Douglas Police Department for further investigation.
A search warrant was obtained and executed on the conversion van at the U.S. Port of Entry, with the assistance of Customs and Border Protection Officers. The search of the van led to the discovery of a hidden compartment in the van’s floorboard which concealed 106.74 lbs of marijuana. Douglas Police seized the marijuana and the vehicle as evidence. The marijuana has an estimated street value of over $55,000.
The female driver of the van was released pending further investigation.
DPS officers seize over 400 pounds of marijuana in 24-hour period
On March 31, at about 3:00 p.m., Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) Officers assisted by GIITEM Officers were checking a known area used by drug smugglers on State Route 80 near the New Mexico State line.
The officers saw a group of nine people at the site. The group left heading towards Mexico. Officers located 281 pounds of marijuana at the site.
On April 1, at about 6:30 a.m., a DPS officer attempted to make a traffic stop on a 1999 Chevrolet Cavalier on Interstate 10 westbound at milepost 308. The driver of the vehicle reduced his speed, activated his 4-way flashers, but kept driving.
As back-up units arrived, the vehicle pulled over and stopped. Three young Hispanic men fled the vehicle, on foot, north of the interstate in the Pomerene area.
The vehicle contained 138 pounds of marijuana. The Cochise County Sheriff’s Department and Benson Police also assisted DPS.