Thursday, 21 January 2016

U.S. Customs and Border Protection News: When Is a Spare Tire Worth More Than $380,000?

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.

CBP 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

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.