Illegal pot seized in remote areas - Tucson News Now

Illegal pot seized in remote areas

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

More than ten tons of pot were found in a semi traveling through the Mariposa Port of Entry in Nogales.

It was the biggest seizure of its kind.

While finds like this are shocking just because of the massive size, numbers show most illegal pot is found in the desert.

Tucson News Now spent a day with Border Patrol agents trying to track down smugglers in remote areas.

Agents were hot on the trail of a group of suspected illegal border crossers.

Agents get to the top of a ridge and one of the suspected crossers is spotted.

On ATVs, they catch up with the group with help from those on the look-out points.

Agents say these three will be arrested for crossing the border illegally. They were not found carrying drugs, though most pot seizures are made out there.

According to the numbers from the Tucson Sector Border Patrol, you'd be surprised how much marijuana is actually uncovered at Border Patrol checkpoints. 

27,400 pounds for the 2012 fiscal year were found at the checkpoints alone. Compare that to 1,015,332 pounds seized in the entire sector, including the mountains and desert.

Agents in the field work in such challenging terrain that while driving out there to help other agents track down border crossers, we had to stop the vehicle right because of a steep washed out road, and we had to continue on— on foot.

"There's a lot of high points, good vantage points for scouts to watch the Border Patrol," said Agent Peter Bidegain with the Tucson Sector Border Patrol.

Bidegain says smugglers run entire networks using radios and a tall house just south of the border wall.

"They have scouts positioned up in the house. You can see all the roads down below," he said.

Agents can't be everywhere all the time, so they use ground sensors and cameras to stop smugglers in their tracks.

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