Monday, December 20, 2010

ICE arrests 2 indicted in ultralight smuggling plot

TUCSON, Ariz. - Two U.S. citizens are in federal custody after they were arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for their alleged involvement in a marijuana smuggling operation that used ultralight aircraft to move the illicit substance across the border.

Jon Youngs, 40, a foreman at a ranch near Hereford, Ariz., and Marta Williamson, 52, of Tucson, have been indicted by a federal grand jury for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana.

On Feb. 6, agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Border Patrol arrested two people and seized about 200 pounds of marijuana that was smuggled into the United States via an ultralight aircraft. ICE HSI special agents were notified, took custody of the suspects for federal prosecution, and opened an investigation into the criminal smuggling activity.

During the course of the investigation, agents identified these suspects as the coordinators who facilitated the smuggling of marijuana from Sierra Vista, Ariz. to Tucson. ICE HSI agents arrested Youngs and Williamson Thursday after the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Arizona obtained an indictment against the pair at a grand jury hearing Wednesday. An indictment is simply the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and 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.

This is an ongoing ICE investigation assigned to HSI agents working out of the Tucson-based Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).

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