NOGALES, Ariz. – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents seized 2,608 pounds of marijuana in a coordinated enforcement effort with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Border Patrol (BP) and the CBP Office of Air and Marine (OAM) Friday morning west of Nogales, Ariz.
Agents were conducting an operation targeting the canyons along West Ruby Road northwest of Nogales because the area is widely known for alien and narcotics smuggling. West Ruby Road is a primary route smugglers use to transport people or narcotics from remote locations to Interstate 19 and then on to Tucson. At approximately 8:40 a.m., HSI agents discovered a white horse trailer in Calabasas Canyon loaded with bundles of marijuana. About 300 yards south of the horse trailer, an OAM helicopter identified a partially camouflaged pickup truck with a camper shell. HSI and BP agents converged on the truck and found more marijuana bundles scattered on the ground near the truck and under some trees about 30 feet away.
"It was apparent we interrupted this smuggling attempt just as the perpetrators were preparing the load for transport," said Kevin Kelly, assistant special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Nogales. "By joining forces, DHS agencies are making it increasingly difficult for smugglers to evade law enforcement in the Nogales area."
Although agents conducted a thorough search, none of the smugglers were located. Kelly suspects the smugglers heard law enforcement approaching and fled to Mexico. Agents seized the pickup, horse trailer and marijuana, which has an estimated value of more than $1.1 million.