A 2006 Kenworth T-300 tractor trailer was pulled over Saturday at the Nogales, Ariz., port. The truck which was thought to be carrying only tomatoes was also carrying 6,000 pounds of marijuana.
The load that is worth almost $10 million was sent for inspection when members of the Anti-Terrorism Contraband Enforcement Team were screening vehicles that were coming in from Mexico. The truck was sent to the commercial facility for an inspection using an x-ray system. Before the system could be used, a narcotics dog alerted the officers to the odor of narcotics. The scan was then performed which showed a discrepancy in the load.
Since the scan showed discrepancies and the dog was alerted, officers opened up the trailer and began removing the tomatoes that were palletized. Once the tomatoes were taken out, the officers located 267 bales of marijuana that weighed 6,160 lbs. with an estimated street value of nearly $9.9 million dollars.
The driver, a 31-year-old Mexican man, was arrested immediately and turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The tomatoes were loaded onto a different trailer and allowed to proceed to their original destination. The truck, trailer and marijuana were all seized. The seize was the largest ever for the Nogales port.
The last seizure of enormous size happen May 8 when Custom & Border Protection officers seized 3,862 pounds of marijuana that was hidden inside of a trailer carrying squash. Since the beginning of the year, over 154 attempts of smuggling marijuana into the United States have been stopped. Custom & Border Protection officers have seized over 30,518 pounds of illicit drugs. Last year at the same time, 19,560 pounds had already been seized.
Nogales is located on the United States/Mexican border. Nogales serves the largest port of entry for fruits and vegetables in the United States.
The United States Customs and Border Protection is the border agency with the Department of Homeland Security that is in charge of the management, control and the protection of the United States borders at and between the official ports of entry. The Customs and Border Protection is also in charge with keeping all terrorists and weapons out of the country as well as enforcing hundreds of laws, as stated in the United States Customs News Release.
SOURCE : CBP seizes 6,000 pounds of marijuana hidden within tomatoes at Nogales, Arizona Port – United States Customs News Release