TUCSON, Ariz. – U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to Ajo and Welton stations collaborated with Mexican authorities to seize a drug smuggling vehicle in a remote area of the Sonoran Desert Wednesday evening.
U.S. Border Patrol agents patrolling a stretch of desert near the Yuma/Maricopa county line, discovered tracks from an off-road vehicle on protected land approximately four miles north of the international border.
Recognizing signs of a possible vehicle incursion into the United States, additional Border Patrol agents on all-terrain vehicles were called in, and assisted by an Air and Marine Operations helicopter crew, who began to look for the suspected vehicle.
The helicopter crew spotted a modified Jeep Cherokee, containing 11 people and several suspected bundles of marijuana speeding south toward the international boundary, where limited border security infrastructure is in place.
After a failed attempt to drive across a makeshift ramp, the Jeep became stuck on the post and rail vehicle barrier, and the occupants fled into Mexico with the suspected marijuana.
U.S. agents notified Mexican officials who deployed military law enforcement to the area.
No suspects or narcotics were found, however Mexican authorities were able to seize the vehicle.
Border Patrol agents found the location where the vehicle initially made entry into the U.S., and recovered two additional homemade vehicle ramps.
Border Patrol agents often work in remote locations with limited infrastructure, and extreme weather and terrain. They face evolving threats from smuggling organizations who endanger the public on both sides of the U.S./Mexico Border.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection welcomes assistance from the community. Individuals can report suspicious activity to Border Patrol by calling 1-877-872-7435 toll free. All calls will be answered and remain anonymous.