Smugglers arrested with over 3,000 lbs of marijuana

Yuma Sector Border Patrol agents assigned to the Wellton Station seized three drive-through narcotics loads early Tuesday morning.

About 12:15 a.m., Border Patrol agents assigned to the Wellton Station detected a possible drive-through narcotics load in a remote desert area 40 miles south of Wellton, Arizona. Agents discovered an abandoned black Chevrolet Silverado near the "Tule Well Cabin" filled with 61 bundles of marijuana. Agents subsequently detected tire tracks for additional vehicles continuing north from the abandoned vehicle.

Additional agents responded north of the area of detection to interdict the vehicles traveling northbound. They successfully deployed a controlled tire deflation device on a white Ford F-250 pick-up truck. The truck was able to continue north a short distance until it came to a stop revealing 65 bundles of marijuana - the occupants fled the scene and are actively being sought by Border Patrol agents and CBP pilots at this time.

A third vehicle, a white Jeep Cherokee was found abandoned three miles north of the black Chevrolet Tahoe and was loaded with 65 bundles of marijuana.

Upon further investigation, it was determined that in the smugglers' haste to bring their contraband into the U.S., the Ford F-250 crashed into the Chevrolet Tahoe and Jeep Cherokee while driving with its headlights off. This effectively brought the two vehicles that had been hit to a halt undermining the attempt of the smugglers.

Records checks revealed that the Ford F-250 and Chevrolet Silverado were reported stolen out of California. The Jeep Cherokee was not reported stolen but is registered out of Phoenix, Arizona.

The marijuana's total weight is about 3,340 pounds with an estimated value of $2,670,000.

The marijuana was turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration. The Ford F-250 and Chevrolet Silverado were turned over to the Yuma County Sheriff's Office, the Jeep Cherokee was seized by the Border Patrol.

Source: US Customs/Border Patrol

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