Arizona State Troopers Seize More Than $6 Million in Illegal Drugs in Two Traffic Stops (That Somehow Made It Across the Border)

2021-05-15 Arizona State Troopers Seize $6 Million in Illegal Drugs 800x600

Arizona State Troopers seized more than $6 million in illegal drugs on May 15 and 18.

An Arizona Department of Public Safety (AZDPS) Canine District trooper stopped the driver of a tractor-trailer on Interstate 10 westbound at milepost 237, near Marana, for multiple violations on Saturday night, May 15.

Inside the truck cab, troopers discovered 44.9 pounds of heroin, 40 pounds of fentanyl pills and 21.4 pounds of methamphetamine stowed in backpacks and duffel bags, which had somehow escaped notice while passing through a border checkpoint in Southern Arizona. AZDPS said the estimated street value of these drugs is more than $2.5 million.

The driver, 52-year-old Jesus E. Sepulveda, of Nogales, Az., was arrested on charges including possession and transportation of narcotic drugs for sale and possession of dangerous drugs for sale.

Three days later, on Tuesday, May 18th, the same trooper stopped the driver of a passenger car heading eastbound on Interstate 10 eastbound at milepost 48, in the Salome area, for a traffic violation. Searching the vehicle, troopers found 74 pounds of fentanyl pills with an estimated street value of $3.7 million, which had also somehow made it through the southern border.

The driver, 21-year-old Andrew Reyna of Los Angeles, was booked into La Paz County Jail on charges of possession and transportation of a narcotic drug for sale.

2021-05-28 Jesus Sepulveda arrested for transporting millions in illegal drugs

Jesus E. Sepulveda, 52, of Nogales, Az., was arrested on charges including possession and transportation of narcotic drugs for sale.

2021-05-15 Driver Reyna Andrew arrested for transporting illegal drugs

Andrew Reyna, 21, of Los Angeles, was booked into La Paz County Jail on charges of possession and transportation of a narcotic drug for sale.

“Arizona’s Border Strike Force continues to seize significant amounts of illegal narcotics coming across the southern border,” said Gov. Doug Ducey. “Keeping these dangerous and deadly drugs out of America’s schools and neighborhoods is a heroic effort. I’m grateful to this State Trooper and all who serve the people of Arizona fighting the flow of drug smuggling and human trafficking across the border.”

The goal of the Arizona Border Strike Force (BSF) is to deter, disrupt and dismantle transnational criminal organizations that breach the border in their quest to conduct criminal activity in our state.

The BSF operations focus on statewide roving criminal interdiction patrol details, intelligence-led remote area operations, outbound details, and deterrent saturation patrols. Specific units within the Border Strike Force Bureau include the Canine District, the Southern Investigations District, and the Vehicle Theft District.

Posted May 28, 2021

Yuma Sector Canine Sniffs Out Fentanyl; Kingman Residents Involved

YUMA, Ariz. – A Yuma Sector canine working at the immigration checkpoint on Highway 78 near Blythe, Calif., on May 13 sniffed out a sandwich bag containing fentanyl pills hidden in a suitcase.

At approximately 8 a.m., Border Patrol agents referred a Toyota Prius to the checkpoint’s secondary inspection area following a canine alert. Agents determined that the four vehicle occupants were U.S. citizens from Kingman, Az. Three of them drove to Calexico, Calif., to pick up the fourth and they were in the process of heading back to Kingman when they drove through the checkpoint.

Border Patrol agents confiscated a sandwich bag containing fentanyl pills.
Border Patrol agents confiscated a sandwich bag containing fentanyl pills.

During a search of the vehicle, agents found a plastic bag containing 77 grams of fentanyl pills, worth approximately $1,800, in a suitcase that belonged to the 32-year-old female who was picked up in Calexico. Border agents arrested the woman and seized the fentanyl.

Fentanyl is an extremely powerful synthetic opioid similar to morphine but 50 to 100 times more potent. Only two milligrams of fentanyl can be lethal. The female smuggler possessed the equivalent of 77,000 milligrams of fentanyl, the Border Patrol said.

Posted May 17, 2021

CBP seizes narcotics worth $681K at Mid-Valley International Bridges in Texas

PHARR, Texas—Two persons were arrested Sept. 18 in connection with two failed drug smuggling attempts of alleged methamphetamine and marijuana in separate, unrelated incidents.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations (OFO) made the busts at the Pharr International Bridge cargo facility and at the Anzalduas International Bridge in Texas.

“These two seizures of narcotics in separate environments are indicative of drug-smuggling organizations’ persistence in bringing drugs across the border,” said Port Director Carlos Rodriguez, Port of Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas. “Our officers remain committed to the safety of our communities and seizures like these are the result.”

At left: Packages containing 486 pounds of marijuana seized by CBP officers at Pharr International Bridge, Texas.

On Sept. 16, 2020, a CBP officer assigned to the Anzalduas-Reynosa International Bridge referred for further inspection a 23-year-old woman, a U.S. citizen from Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico who was driving a Chrysler Pacifica. Using non-intrusive imaging (NII) equipment as part of the secondary examination, officers discovered 21 packages of alleged methamphetamine weighing 29 pounds (13.24 kg) concealed within the car. The drugs have a street value of $583,778.

Later that day at the Pharr International Bridge cargo facility, a CBP officer referred a 63-year-old male Mexican citizen driving a tractor with an empty trailer for a secondary examination, which resulted in the discovery of 204 packages of alleged marijuana hidden within the trailer. The packages that weighed 486 pounds (220.5 kg) are valued at $97,222.

CBP OFO seized all the narcotics, the tractor/trailer and the car and arrested the man and woman. Agents with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) took them both into custody and continue with the investigations.

Source: U.S. Customs and Border Protection. For more information about CBP, please click on the attached link.

Border Patrol intercepts large fentanyl load at Amado, Arizona Checkpoint

TUCSON, Ariz. – U.S. Border Patrol agents on Sept. 17 seized more than 17 pounds of fentanyl at the Interstate 19 Immigration Checkpoint near Amado, AZ, 12 miles south of Green Valley.

Tucson Sector agents at the primary inspection lane encountered a 25-year-old woman driving a Chevrolet Trailblazer around 10:30 a.m. Following a trained canine’s alert, agents referred the vehicle to secondary inspection, where X-ray scans revealed anomalies within a medical respirator on the backseat. Agents found multiple packages of suspected fentanyl pills concealed inside it.

At left: Agents discovered fentanyl pills inside of a medical respirator.

The highly dangerous opioid pills have an approximate street value of $188,000, the Border Patrol said.

The U.S. citizen driver from Nogales, Arizona, was arrested and the fentanyl pills and vehicle seized. The case has since been taken over by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control.

Source: U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials, who welcome assistance from the community.