Ariz. Border Patrol seizes 6.5 tons of pot

By Brady McCombs
The Arizona Daily Star

The record-breaking haul of marijuana by U.S. Border Patrol agents in the Tucson Sector continued Wednesday with the seizure of 6.5 tons across the Tucson Sector.

The largest bust among the seizure of 13,000 pounds occurred Wednesday evening in a house at 1839 Portero Drive in Nogales, where Border Patrol agents found 5,355 pounds of marijuana, said Jesus Rod-riguez, spokesman for the Border Patrol's Tucson Sector.

Agents went to Portero Canyon west of Nogales after a camera operator spotted two vehicles in the popular smuggling area, Rodriguez said. The agents followed the vehicle tracks north to the Nogales house and found the marijuana in plastic-wrapped bundles inside and in the beds of two 2006 Ford F-250 pickups, he said. No arrests were made, Rodriguez said.

The trucks were reported stolen from Tucson, Rodriguez said. The drugs, which were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration, have a street value of $4.2 million according to Border Patrol figures or $2.6 million using figures from the Arizona High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, the federal anti-drug analysis and intelligence center.

Another large discovery came Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. west of Sasabe. Agents went to the area after members of the National Guard working in an Entrance Identification Team spotted two vehicles crossing the international line.

Agents followed two vehicles north on Arizona 286 until they turned east on Arivaca Road. The first vehicle, a 2006 white Ford Expedition with Sonora license plates, rolled over after ramming into the Border Patrol agent's vehicle, Rodriguez said. Agents caught the driver. No one suffered injuries.

Another agent stopped the second vehicle, a 2005 blue Chevy pickup rental reported stolen out of Tucson, at Milepost 6 on Arivaca Road, he said. Both the driver and a passenger, Mexican nationals, were arrested.

Agents found 2,011 pounds of weed in the two trucks, worth $1.6 million according to Border Patrol figures or $1 million using figures from the Arizona High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.

Agents have seized 149,700 pounds of marijuana since Oct. 1 in the Tucson Sector, a 37 percent increase over the same time period in fiscal year 2006. The 616,534 pounds of pot seized last year marked the fifth consecutive year marijuana seizures had increased.

Copyright 2006 The Arizona Daily Star

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