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

Border Patrol arrests sex offenders, criminal aliens in the Rio Grande Valley

EDINBURG, Texas – Over the weekend, Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol agents arrested three sex offenders and two members of violent criminal organizations.

Rio Grande City agents working near Roma, Texas, on Nov. 13 arrested a Guatemalan national, later identified as Amos Nemias Lopez-Ramirez, shortly after he illegally entered the United States. During processing, record checks revealed he is a confirmed Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang member. Records revealed he had previously been arrested in Virginia by the Harrisonburg Police Department for assault and sentenced to five years incarceration.

That same day, McAllen agents working in Los Ebanos, Texas, arrested a Guatemalan national whose record checks identified him as Jose Cottoc-Machic. Furthermore, agents discovered the man was previously arrested in Alabama by the Russellville Police Department and charged with sexual assault-rape 2nd degree. A judge sentenced Cottoc-Machic to eight years imprisonment but suspended his sentence to three months and five years probation.

The following morning, Falfurrias, Texas, agents arrested Jose Vasquez-Chavez, a Salvadoran national attempting to circumvent the immigration checkpoint. During processing, record checks revealed he had previously been arrested by the Katy Police Department for sexual assault of a child, convicted, and sentenced to two years confinement.

Later that evening, McAllen agents arrested a Mexican national, later identified as Fernando Jimenez-Rodriguez, after he illegally entered the United States.

Jose Tomas Vasquez-Chavez, convicted sex offender.

During processing, his record checks revealed a previous arrest by the Dallas Police Department for indecency with a child. Jimenez-Rodriguez received a two year prison sentence.

On Nov. 16, Rio Grande city agents on patrol near the Rio Grande in Roma, Texas, arrested a Mexican national after he was rafted across the river by a human smuggler. During processing, the man identified himself as a member of a criminal organization, Los Metros, which has been identified as a faction of the Gulf Cartel.

ICE, Border Patrol raid of Chaparral stash house results in 57 arrests

CHAPARRAL, N.M. – Continuing a recent trend, U.S. Border Patrol and ICE agents discovered a crowded stash house containing 48 illegal aliens last week.

El Paso Border Patrol Agents investigating a potential smuggling scheme encountered seven illegal aliens near the El Paso International Airport. The illegal aliens provided information that led to the discovery of four dozen other illegal aliens inside the stash house in Chaparral, New Mexico.

CPB, 2 agents at the border fence

Standing in front of a stretch of border wall.

Following the discovery, a lawfully admitted permanent resident and his wife were arrested on smuggling charges. The aliens from Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico also were arrested, making a total of 57 people taken into custody.

The Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) Agents and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Deportation Officers (ICE-DO) took part in the arrests.

The stash house discovery comes on the heels of a recent take-down last month where 32 persons were found inside of an El Paso, Texas, stash house in the Lower Valley.

 “Border Patrol Agents, joined by HSI and ICE-DO identified a stash house with 48 illegal aliens inside a Chaparral, New Mexico residence,” stated El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gloria I. Chavez. “This incident demonstrates the continued exploitation by transnational criminal organizations who repeatedly use humans for profit regardless of the inherent risks including the potential for the spread of COVID-19 during the ongoing pandemic.”