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Contraband
02/19/2011

ICE seizes more than 900 pounds of marijuana in Phoenix

PHOENIX - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents seized more than 900 pounds of marijuana and arrested a suspected drug smuggler at a Phoenix auto shop Friday.

Agents conducting an ongoing investigation into a marijuana smuggling ring suspected the shop, located near the intersection of 39th Ave. and Indian School Road, was being used to stash narcotics. Following the execution of a federal search warrant on the business, HSI agents seized a total of 941 pounds of marijuana in 41 bundles, scales, wrapping material and other items indicating drug smuggling activity. The owner of the business, a 40-year-old Mexican citizen unlawfully present in the United States, was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

"While taking nearly 1,000 pounds of marijuana off of our streets is a great success, we are also denying this drug smuggling organization the use of a key facility in their scheme," said Matt Allen, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Arizona. "The evidence we collected as part of this search warrant will also help us to continue this investigation and to eventually dismantle the entire organization."

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.

This investigation is ongoing. Individuals with information related to this investigation should contact ICE's tip line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE.