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Contraband
03/09/2009

ICE probe leads to seizure of 75 pounds of cocaine

PHOENIX - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents have deprived a Phoenix drug smuggling organization of more than $1 million in income following the seizure March 2 of 75 pounds cocaine in a joint investigation with the Phoenix Police Department.

ICE agents received a tip in early March about suspicious activity at a house near Guadalupe Drive and South Hardy Road in Tempe, Ariz. While conducting surveillance on March 2, agents and Phoenix officers observed a suspicious vehicle leaving the house. The Phoenix Police Department initiated a traffic stop and discovered approximately 70 pounds of cocaine in a hidden compartment. Upon executing a search warrant at the residence, agents discovered an additional five pounds of cocaine, an assault rifle and other paraphernalia associated with narcotics smuggling. The Tempe Police Department also assisted in stopping another suspicious vehicle.

"This seizure represents a major loss to the drug smuggling organization that possessed this cocaine," said Matt Allen, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Arizona. "ICE has already generated a significant amount of intelligence in this investigation, which we will use to identify, disrupt and ultimately dismantle this organization."

Allen also said that the seizure was a product of the outstanding partnerships ICE has with other law enforcement agencies in Arizona. He credited the spirit of cooperative enforcement efforts in more effectively targeting investigations against criminal organizations.

Ultimately, ICE agents arrested four Mexican nationals on immigration violations and seized four vehicles.