Nogales, Ariz. — Five separate attempts to smuggle drugs through the Dennis DeConcini port of entry were derailed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers assigned to the Tucson Field Office.
On Friday, officers arrested Paul Cole Pineda, 41, of Nogales, Ariz., after an inspection of his Ford Expedition resulted in the discovery of nearly 61 pounds of cocaine hidden in a non-factory compartment in the vehicle’s gas tank. The drugs were valued at an estimated $552,500.
On Friday and Saturday, two Mexican nationals were apprehended in separate incidents for attempting to smuggle a combined 82 pounds of marijuana worth an estimated $40,000. The marijuana was hidden in one vehicle’s gas tank and inside a non-factory compartment in the other vehicle.
Saturday, officers apprehended a 33-year-old man from Nogales, Sonora, Mexico after an inspection of his Chevrolet SUV turned up 10 packages of cocaine weighing more than 13 pounds from the radiator area. The drugs were worth approximately $208,000.
A 15-year-old female from Nogales, Ariz., was taken into custody on Friday, when she attempted to enter the United States through a pedestrian lane with $10,000 worth of black tar heroin.
In all incidents, the narcotics and any involved vehicles were processed for seizure.
Individuals arrested may be charged by complaint, the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity, which raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent unless and until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
CBP's Office of Field Operations is the primary organization within Homeland Security tasked 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 duties, including narcotics interdiction, enforcing immigration and trade laws, and protecting the nation's food supply and agriculture industry from pests and diseases.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.