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ICE arrests 9, seizes 3,700 pounds of marijuana in southern Arizona

SIERRA VISTA, Ariz. - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents seized more than 3,700 pounds of marijuana and arrested nine people suspected of smuggling drugs into the United States in Sierra Vista, Ariz., today following a joint investigation with the Sierra Vista Police Department and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Border Patrol.

Sierra Vista police officers initially observed suspicious vehicle activity in the area of Ironmaster Street on Nov. 25 and alerted ICE and the Border Patrol. Subsequent investigation identified a residence at 1656 Ironmaster Street that was possibly involved in human smuggling or narcotics trafficking activity. ICE agents watching the house Saturday observed a white van leaving the residence and alerted the Sierra Vista police. Officers sought to stop the vehicle, which attempted to elude law enforcement, resulting in a short pursuit through Sierra Vista.

Once the van stopped, officers found approximately 1,000 pounds of marijuana inside. ICE and Border Patrol agents subsequently searched the residence on Ironmaster and discovered approximately another 1,500 pounds of marijuana inside. Additional information developed at the scene led to another home at 583 Hegge Drive in Sierra Vista. A search of that house turned up another 1,240 pounds of marijuana.

In total, agents seized 3,736 pounds of marijuana and arrested nine individuals, five Mexicans and four U.S. citizens, on suspicion of possession of narcotics with intent to distribute.