Marijuana, suspected smugglers nabbed – Yuma Sun

Posted on: May 3rd, 2012 by admin No Comments

Border Patrol agents from Yuma Sector arrested 12 suspected smugglers and seized more than 483 pounds of marijuana in two separate incidents on Tuesday.

According to agent Spencer Tippets, of the Yuma Sector Public Affairs Office, Wellton Station agents were patrolling southwest of Gila Bend early that morning when they detected a group of suspected drug smugglers walking through the desert carrying large, rectangular backpacks.

Tippets said agents eventually caught up to the group, apprehending five suspects. They had been carrying a total of 315 pounds of marijuana, which was estimated to be worth nearly $158,000.

The marijuana and suspects, all Mexican nationals, were turned over to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.

About two hours later, other Wellton Station agents patrolling in the same general area located a second group of suspected drug smugglers traveling through the desert.

Tippets said this time seven people, carrying 168 pounds of marijuana, were apprehended. The marijuana, valued at $84,000, was seized and the subjects were processed for removal.

Tippets said agents don’t know if the two groups were connected in any way. “Obviously they were smuggling the same type of drug, in the same area, within a very short time frame, but we just don’t know.”

Although he was only speculating, Tippets said drug trafficking organizations have used a tactic in the past in which a small load is sacrificed in hopes of a larger load making through while agents are thought to be occupied.

James Gilbert can be reached at or 539-6854. Find him on Facebook at or on Twitter @YSJamesGilbert.

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