Successful Binational Operation Dismantles Illicit Scouting Network on U.S. / Mexican Border

TUCSON, Ariz. – A four-day binational operation between U.S. and Mexican authorities resulted in seizure of more than 250 pounds of narcotics, assault weapons, and communication equipment from criminal networks over the weekend.

Nineteen smugglers, including six Honduran nationals linked to criminal organizations, were arrested in the joint Mexican / U.S. operation.

Tucson Sector Border Patrol agents, assisted by helicopter crews from U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Air and Marine Operations collaborated with officers from Mexico’s Federal Police Force assigned to Border Violence Prevention Protocol Office, west of Nogales Saturday.

Mexican authorities raided elevated mountain scout sites used by human and narcotic smugglers south of the international boundary, while U.S. Border Patrol Foreign Operations Branch and Special Operations Detachment units provided surveillance from the U.S. side during the operation. U.S. Border Patrol agents also detained and processed smugglers who attempted to flee into United States during the raids.

Policia Federal helicopter units deployed for operation in Mexico also discovered and destroyed a poppy field near the International Border, believed to be used for opioid production by the same illicit criminal organizations targeted during the raid.

“Binational collaboration is crucial in ensuring the safety for communities on both side of the border,” said Roy Villareal, Tucson Sector Chief Patrol Agent. “The disruption of endeavors by dangerous criminal organizations who profit from the misery of others will always one of the enforcement goals of Tucson Sector.”