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Contraband
06/03/2008

ICE investigation leads to Douglas, Ariz., arrest and marijuana seizure

DOUGLAS, Ariz. - Agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested one suspect and seized more than 1,200 pounds of marijuana Sunday from a Douglas house in a joint investigation with the Douglas Police Department.

Cindy Maria Sanchez-Armenta, a lawful permanent resident, was arrested on charges of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

The investigation began Sunday after ICE developed information that several vehicles laden with marijuana had illegally crossed the border near Douglas. Through further investigation, agents were able to locate the residence where the drugs were purportedly being stored and set up surveillance, along with Douglas police officers. At approximately 5:45 p.m., a tan Chevrolet truck with Mexican license plates was observed pulling into the rear of the home. Shortly thereafter, ICE agents and the Douglas Police Department's Special Response Team approached the house to serve a search warrant. Inside the house, agents discovered 67 bales of marijuana weighing 1,229 pounds.

"Thanks to the partnerships formed among different law enforcement agencies in Douglas, drug trafficking organizations will find it increasingly difficult to operate in this area," said Scott Brown, assistant special agent in charge of the ICE office of investigations in Douglas. "We will continue working together, sharing intelligence and resources, to identify and disrupt the organizations behind narcotics smuggling in southern Arizona."

Sanchez-Armenta had her initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Tucson yesterday. A criminal complaint is simply the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.