Arizona Borders: When Is a Spare Tire Worth More Than $380,000?

21 January 2016   US Customs and Border Patrol
Officers at the DeConcini crossing seized a combination of cocaine, heroin and meth within the spare tire of a smuggling vehicle stopped for further inspection on Jan.18
Customs and Border Protection officers find drugs in spare tire, another had drugs in radiator.

TUCSON, Ariz. – Customs and Border Protection officers at the DeConcini crossing Jan. 18 selected a Mercedes sedan, driven by Marisol Lizbeth Cardenas-Monzon, 20, of Casa Grande, Arizona, for additional inspection. When officers checked the spare tire, inside they found 17.5 pounds of heroin, worth nearly $247,000; more than seven pounds of cocaine, worth approximately $77,000; and over 20 pounds of methamphetamine, valued in excess of $61,000.

In other searches, officers working at the Mariposa crossing Jan. 18 referred a Ford sedan for further inspection. After questioning the driver, Jose Urquidez, 51, of Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, officers searched the vehicle and found nearly 24 pounds of heroin worth an estimated $335,000.

On Jan. 13, officers at the Dennis DeConcini crossing referred Cesar Ivan Cruz-Medina, 28, of Amarillo, Texas, for further inspection of his Chevrolet truck. A CBP narcotics-detection canine alerted to the presence of drugs that turned out to be more than 94 pounds of marijuana worth approximately $47,000.

Officers working at the DeConcini crossing Jan. 15 referred a KIA SUV, driven by Pedro Jesus Bacame, 22, of Tucson, for further inspection and found more than 34 pounds of meth worth slightly more than $103,000.

On Jan. 17, officers at the DeConcini crossing referred Fernando Franco, 28, of Rio Rico, Arizona, for a secondary inspection of his Ford and found nearly 23 pounds of cocaine worth in excess of $239,000, inside of the truck’s radiator.

In all, CBP officers arrested four U.S. citizens and one Mexican national for their alleged attempts to smuggle marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine through the Port of Nogales. Officers turned each subject over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and seized their vehicles.

Man Rescued in Desert, Meth and Heroin Seized at Checkpoints


YUMA, Ariz. – Yuma Sector Border Patrol agents received a frantic cell-phone call from a distressed Mexican man in the Sonoran Desert Jan. 18, asking for help.

Assisted by pilots from Air and Marine Operations, Yuma Air Branch, agents located and rescued the man the following evening. He was treated for minor dehydration and did not want hospital care.

On Jan. 19, a canine team alerted to a vehicle driven by a 28-year-old U.S. citizen at the Blythe Station immigration checkpoint on Highway 95. When agents searched the vehicle, they found 32 pounds of methamphetamine.

Later that day, agents conducted a secondary inspection of a commercial shuttle van as it attempted to pass through the Wellton Station immigration checkpoint on Interstate 8. During their inspection, agents found and seized seven pounds of heroin from a 50-year-old Mexican woman travelling to Phoenix.

All drugs, worth more than $281,000, and subjects will be processed per Yuma Sector guidelines.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.




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