NOGALES, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Thursday, Feb. 15 turned out to be a busy night for U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers assigned to the Port of Nogales, as they stopped several drug smuggling attempts and seized over a $1 million in drugs.
The first five smuggling attempts were stopped at the Dennis DeConcini crossing, thanks to some help from a few CBP canines. More than 17 pounds of cocaine and 5 pounds of meth were discovered in a Chevy truck being driven by a 33-year-old woman from Mexico, who had a SENTRI card. According to the CBP release she was pulled for secondary inspection, where the K9 alerted to the center console of the truck. Officers found a hidden compartment with the bundles inside. The drugs combined were worth an estimated $212,000. Her SENTRI card was seized and she faces drug smuggling charges.
A second incident involved a 21-year-old man, a U.S. citizen and the Dodge hatchback he was driving. Officers pulled him for inspection after a K9 alerted to the vehicle. Officers found 14 pounds of cocaine inside the vehicle's rear quarter panel. The drugs were worth an estimated $154,000.
For a third time Thursday night, CBP officers pulled a vehicle after a K9 alerted to it. A Ford sedan, driven by a 25-year-old from Mexico was searched and nearly 17 pounds of cocaine was found in the center console. The drugs were worth an estimated $187,000.
Officers pulled a GMC SUV, driven by a 35-year-old woman, a U.S. citizen after the K9 alerted to the vehicle. CBP officers searched and found nearly 96 pounds of methamphetamine hidden throughout the vehicle. The bundles were worth over $287,000.
A fifth stop netted 51 pounds of methamphetamine from a Jeep driven by a 23-year-old woman from Mexico. The bundles worth an estimated $154,000 were found in the vehicle's spare tire.
CBP officers at the Mariposa crossing also stopped a smuggling attempt, pulling a 32-year-old man from Mexico for a secondary search of his Ford truck after a K9 alerted to it. Inside the truck's door panels officers discovered 4 pounds of methamphetamine, worth over $13,000.
(2.04kg Meth discovered in a Ford truck. (Source: U.S. Customs and Border Protection)
In all six incidents, CBP officers seized the drugs and vehicles, and turned the subjects over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations.