Yuma Border Patrol arrests 16 in human smuggling attempts

The I-8 border sector also nabbed a Tucsonan bringing $135k in meth into the country

Yuma Border Patrol arrests 16 in human smuggling attempts
Source: (KOLD)

YUMA, Ariz. – Yuma Sector Border Patrol agents foiled two human smuggling attempts at separate immigration checkpoints Sunday and Monday, resulting in 16 arrests in less than 24 hours.

At approximately 6:30 a.m. Sunday, Blythe Station agents referred the seven occupants of a white Ford Expedition to the secondary inspection area for additional questioning. Five of the individuals were determined to be Mexican nationals illegally present in the United States.

In the second event, 1:30 a.m. Monday morning, Wellton Station agents referred a Dodge Ram wagon to the secondary inspection area. After questioning, agents determined seven of the vehicle’s nine occupants were illegally present in the United States.

In both incidents, the U.S. citizen driver and a lawful permanent resident passenger were arrested for human smuggling charges. All 12 illegal aliens were arrested for immigration violations.

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The busy week for Border Patrol office in Yuma continued on Wednesday when agents working at the Interstate 8 Immigration Checkpoint seized over $135K in meth.

Late Wednesday morning, Wellton Station agents referred a gold 2001 Ford Explorer to the secondary inspection area following an alert by a Border Patrol canine. A subsequent search of the vehicle revealed an anomaly in the gas tank.

Upon further investigation, agents discovered 55 packages of methamphetamine hidden inside the gas tank. The narcotics had an approximate weight of 59 pounds and an estimated street value of $135,700. The driver, a U.S. citizen from Tucson, was arrested for transportation of a controlled substance.

In a second incident early Thursday morning, agents observed a blue 2002 Dodge Durango travelling through Dome Valley, northeast of Yuma. Agents performed a vehicle stop and discovered a U.S. citizen from Tucson transporting four illegal aliens from Mexico. The four illegal aliens were arrested for immigration violations.

Dome Valley is a route commonly used by smuggling organizations to attempt to evade apprehension by circumventing the Interstate 8 Immigration Checkpoint east of Yuma.