February 10, 2016

Border Report

Nogales CBP Officers seize largest meth load in Arizona Port history, more than $1.1 million

Customs and Border Protection officers made history Friday when they arrested a Mexican national for an alleged attempt to smuggle more than 387 pounds of methamphetamine through the Port of Nogales. It was the largest meth seizure in Arizona port history.

Officers at the Mariposa Commercial Facility referred Juan Rodolfo Lugo-Urias, 35, of Playas De Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico, for further inspection of a tractor-trailer load of bell peppers when he attempted to enter the U.S. After a CBP narcotics-detection canine alerted to the presence of drugs inside the trailer’s front wall and rear doors, officers removed nearly 400 packages of meth worth more than $1.1 million.

Officers seized the drugs and vehicle, and turned Lugo over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

Nogales Port Director Guadalupe Ramirez applauded officers for the seizure. “This significant interception is a testament to the vigilance and skills of the dedicated officers at the Port of Nogales.”

Federal law allows officers to charge individuals by complaint, a method that allows the filing of charges for criminal activity without inferring guilt. An individual is presumed innocent unless and until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Patrol arrests child molesters

Tucson Sector Border Patrol agents recently arrested two male Mexican nationals during separate incidents near Gila Bend, Arizona, who were previously deported following convictions for crimes against children.

Agents made the first arrest Feb. 3 of a man previously deported after serving a 50-month prison sentence for two counts each on child molestation and domestic violence in King County, Washington. He is now awaiting criminal, federal prosecution.    

Agents arrested the second man Feb. 6 for re-entering the U.S. illegally and, during a criminal-records check, discovered a previous conviction for lewd and lascivious acts with a child in Fairfield County, California. The subject had served 36 months in prison and was subsequently deported. He now is being held pending federal prosecution. 

Border Patrol agents use biometrics to conduct comprehensive criminal and immigration record checks on all subjects they arrest. Every effort is made to ensure all criminals are prosecuted to the full extent of the law

Drugs, weapons and ammunition seized

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Field Operations officers seized more than 90 pounds of marijuana and five weapons in separate incidents Saturday at the Port of Lukeville.

Officers referred Nicolas Rodriguez Morales, 39, of Sonoyta, Mexico, for a secondary inspection of his 2006 Buick when he attempted to enter the U.S. After a CBP canine alerted to the vehicle for possible narcotics, officers found more than 90 pounds of marijuana hidden throughout the vehicle. Officers estimated the drugs to be worth almost $50,000.  

Also on Saturday, officers intercepted and referred a 2008 Malibu for an outbound, secondary inspection and discovered several handguns, automatic weapons and ammunition. Officers arrested the driver, Julian Higuera, 26, a U.S. citizen from Phoenix.

Officers turned both suspects over to U.S Homeland Security Investigations.

Smugglers Busted with Heroin, Marijuana at Port

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Field Operations officers seized more than five pounds of heroin and 23 pounds of marijuana in separate incidents Saturday at the Port of Lukeville.

Officers selected Justin Lee McKee, 21, of Phoenix, for a secondary inspection when he attempted to enter the U.S. on foot carrying luggage. During the inspection, officers found approximately $75,000 worth of heroin in the lining of his luggage and arrested McKee.

Also on Saturday, officers referred a 2003 Honda for secondary inspection, during which time a CBP canine alerted to the rear of the vehicle where officers noticed an anomaly between the rear passenger seat and trunk. Officers investigated the area and found nearly $12,000 worth of marijuana. Officers then arrested the driver, Maureen Bliss Wahl, 18, and her 45-year-old uncle, Brian Mackey, both U.S. citizens from Peoria, Ariz.

Officers turned all suspects over to U.S Homeland Security Investigations.

“These seizures are yet more illustrations of the professionalism and dedication of our frontline CBP officers, along with their canine partners,” said Garret Reinhart, the port’s chief of staff.