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ICE seizes nearly 2 tons of marijuana in southern Arizona

Truck with marijuana
Truck with marijuana

SELLS, Ariz. — Officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Shadow Wolves patrol unit seized nearly two tons of marijuana on the Tohono O'odham Nation Friday.

Working on information they developed about a suspected drug smuggling attempt near Ventana, Ariz., one of the villages on the Nation, the Shadow Wolves officers tracked two vehicles that left tire tracks travelling through the desert near the village. The investigators found the first vehicle, a Chevrolet pickup truck, hidden in some brush and concealed behind a camouflage tarp. The truck contained more than 1,900 pounds of marijuana, wrapped in 84 individual bales. A short time later, the officers located the second vehicle, a Chevrolet SUV. That vehicle contained more than 1,800 pounds of marijuana, also broken down into 84 bales. The seized marijuana has an estimated street value of nearly $1.9 million.

Both seizures were made with significant assistance from the Tohono O'odham Police Department.

"The Shadow Wolves are well known for not giving up when they've caught the scent of a smuggling attempt, said Rodney Irby, assistant special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Sells. "In this case, they were able to work closely with the Tohono O'odham police to make this significant seizure.

No arrests have yet been made in this ongoing investigation.

The Shadow Wolves were founded in 1972 as an initiative undertaken by the U.S. Congress to track drug smugglers on Native American lands in the American Southwest. The tactical officers are known for their ability to track alien and drug smugglers as they attempt to smuggle their illegal commodities across the border. The unit boasts an esteemed history of tracking passed down from generation to generation. The name "Shadow Wolves refers to the way the unit hunts, like a wolf pack. When one wolf finds prey, it calls in the rest of the wolf pack.