U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued the following press release on September 16, 2011:
Douglas, AZ. — On Thursday, September 15, two loads of marijuana, with a combined weight of more than 250 pounds and an estimated value of nearly $129,000, were seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Douglas port of entry.
In the first incident, a 25-year-old Douglas man applied for admission through a vehicle lane and was referred for a secondary inspection of his Plymouth van. After a narcotics detection canine alerted to the vehicle, officers found and removed 147 packages of marijuana from the van’s door panels and spare tire. The drugs weighed more than 200 pounds and had an estimated value of $109,000.
A short time later, a 21-year-old Douglas man attempted to enter the United States through a vehicle lane and was referred for a secondary inspection of his Ford SUV. After a CBP officer determined there was an anomaly in the vehicle’s gas tank, the tank was removed. Inside, officers found 28 packages of marijuana weighing nearly 40 pounds with an estimated value of $20,000.
“Experience pays dividends everyday,” said Douglas Port Director Michael Humphries. “The experience of our port personnel makes it difficult for smugglers to get past.”
In both incidents, the vehicles and drugs were processed for seizure while the drivers were arrested and turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations for further investigation.
Individuals arrested are charged with a criminal complaint, which raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Since launching the Southwest Border Initiative in March 2009, unprecedented shifts in staffing and infrastructure at Arizona’s ports have brought a higher level of focus and intensity to port operations. These shifts have resulted in increased narcotics interceptions and tougher outbound enforcement operations yielding record illicit currency, weapons and wanted felons.
CBP’s Office of Field Operations is the primary organization within Homeland Security tasked primarily with an anti-terrorism mission at our nation’s ports. CBP officers screen all people, vehicles and goods entering the United States while facilitating the flow of legitimate trade and travel. Their mission also includes carrying out border-related responsibilities, including narcotics interdiction, enforcing immigration and trade laws, and protecting the nation’s food supply and agriculture industry from pests and diseases.