Nogales Border Patrol Agents Seize Record Amounts of Drugs In February, 2016

On February 12, Gerardo Cruz of Sonora, Mexico attempted to drive a tractor-trailer through the Port of Nogales into the US. However, a Border Patrol narcotics detection canine alerted its handlers to the presence of drugs in the truck.

While the truck was ostensibly carrying aircraft parts, Border Patrol officers discovered that six palletized boxes contained a very large quantity of marijuana. In fact, the truck contained about 17,060 pounds of marijuana—an amount worth more than $8.5 million.

This seizure turned out to be the second largest marijuana seizure in the history of Arizona’s ports. Only a 20,000-pound seizure from November 2013 exceeded this amount. Officers seized the entire shipment and turned 23-year old Cruz over to ICE’s Homeland Security Investigation.

Just four days earlier, Juan Rodolfo Lugo-Urias of Playas De Rosarito, Baja California attempted to drive a tractor-trailer through the Mariposa Commercial Facility. A narcotics dog also keyed on a shipment in the truck.

Upon further inspection, Border Patrol agents discovered more than $1.1 million worth of meth—387 pounds. The drugs were hidden in a shipment of bell peppers. This seizure was the largest meth seizure ever at an Arizona port. Officers seized the truck and turned Lugo-Urias to over to ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations.

In his comments about the marijuana seizure, Nogales Port Director Guadalupe Ramirez stated that “seizures such as this are the result of a combined effort by our officers, canine, and technology” in a press release.

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