Yuma agents seize 407 pounds of pot
March 20, 2012 3:16 PM
BY JAMES GILBERT - SUN STAFF WRITER
Border Patrol agents from Yuma Sector's Wellton Station seized about
407 pounds of marijuana and apprehended 11 suspected smugglers in two
separate incidents Monday morning.
According to Agent Spencer Tippets of the Yuma Sector Public Affairs
Office, agents patrolling on all-terrain vehicles detected a group of
six suspected drug smugglers traversing the desert south of mile
marker 96 on Interstate 8.
"In that area, the interstate is their destination," Tippets said.
"They will hide there until a load vehicle comes and picks them up."
Agents who were driving without their lights approached the group and
found them to be in possession of 191 pounds of marijuana valued at
"Although it's dark and they can't be seen, the smugglers can still
hear them," Tippets said.
Later that same morning, agents patrolling near Gila Bend observed a
group of five individuals traveling on foot through the desert
wearing large, rectangular backpacks.
Tippets said the agents, who were on ATVs, intercepted the subjects
and discovered their backpacks were filled with 216 pounds of
marijuana worth an estimated $108,000.
The marijuana from both seizures had an estimated street value in
excess of $203,500.
Tippets said the suspects, who were Mexican nationals, and the
marijuana were turned over to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office
because the apprehensions took place outside Yuma County.
Read more: http://www.yumasun.com/articles/agents-77641-tippets-
Judge sees flight risk for 7 held in cartel bribe case
March 20, 2012 11:58 PM
The Brownsville Herald
All seven men accused in a bribery scheme meant to ensure a Gulf
Cartel member's safe passage to Mexico upon his release from U.S.
prison waived a preliminary hearing Tuesday and will remain federal
custody until trial.
At a detention hearing Tuesday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald Morgan
ordered each man held without bail, citing flight risk and danger to
the community due to long criminal records for some of them and
strong ties to Mexico.
The case revolves around alleged Gulf Cartel member Juan Carlos de la
Cruz Reyna, 37, who was sentenced in 2009 to 30 months in U.S.
federal prison for threatening to assault and murder U.S. agents.
The attorney for de la Cruz, Reyna Reynaldo Garza III, said he cannot
comment on the case further than saying the government has not yet
fully disclosed its evidence to the defense.
"We're still in the process of investigating the case," Garza, who
represented de la Cruz in the 2009 case, said.
In addition to de la Cruz, the men accused of conspiring to bribe a
federal agent are Julio Torres, 39, of Brownsville; Carlos Melo, 38,
of Brownsville; Adalberto Nunez-Venegas, 39, a Mexican national;
Gaspar Montes Martinez, 41, of Harlingen; Juan Trejo Venegas, 33, of
Matamoros; and Jose C. Venegas, 36, of Brownsville.
A criminal complaint alleges that the men had varying roles in
offering an undercover agent posing as a corrupt Immigration and
Customs Enforcement agent about $1 million to release de la Cruz
Reyna into the custody of Gulf Cartel members rather than Mexican law
enforcement upon his deportation.
He finishes his sentence in the earlier case later this month.
According to the complaint, the man feared facing further charges in
Mexico and also feared being kidnapped by a rival cartel.
The men went before Morgan individually, and all the attorneys but
Garza argued for a reasonable bond for their clients, which the judge
Note: all this stuff ends up being inter-related. Locals will
remember the rumor about El Chapo having a residence in the Tanque
Home invasion raises question: does medical marijuana attract crime?
CREATED MAR. 20, 2012
Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall says the home invasion bears out
fears medical marijuana facilities will attract crime
Kimberly Haslett of Southwest Arizona Patient Alliance says Arizona
has not seen a surge in crime around medical marijuana
Reporter: Craig Smith
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Before voters approved medical marijuana, law
enforcement warned medical marijuana sites would attract crime.
Now it may be the motive in a home invasion Sunday night.
Under state law having and growing marijuana is legal for certain
patients and caregivers. But it's a valuable commodity in the
Now critics of medical marijuana see an incident Sunday night as
example of legal marijuana pulling people in contact with the illegal
world of dangerous criminals.
Before Arizona voters approved medical marijuana, law enforcement
warned medical marijuana facilities would attract crime. Pima County
Attorney Barbara LaWall was one of them.
"It was a big concern and clearly it was a valid one."
It's not 100 percent clear if the bandits who invaded the house knew
medical marijuana was grown there with a valid license from the state
But when they busted into the home in a quiet Tanque Verde
neighborhood, they came away with marijuana, cash and a cell phone
that deputies traced to find two of the three suspects.
Barbara LaWall says, "This has happened throughout the country
wherever marijuana has become medicalized there have been all kinds
of thefts, robberies, strong arm robberies, armed robberies, home
Kimberly Haslett of the Southwest Arizona Patient Alliance does not
see a criminal trend here: "We have 1300 caregivers in the state
right now and this is the first reported home invasion so I don't
think they are a magnet for crime."
Haslett questions whether the home invaders knew they were busting
into a house where marijuana was grown under license.
She says caregivers licensed to grow usually keep a low profile and
don't advertise what they have.
KGUN9 reporter Craig Smith asked her: "What I'm wondering is if
there's something about how the caregivers become known that would
allow someone seeking marijuana for illegal purposes to find them?"
Haslett: I don't see a correlation in that at all because the only
people that know who the caregiver is should be the patient and the
Arizona Department of Health Services."
The state health department does publish figures showing how many
caregivers are licensed to grow medical marijuana. The latest
figures show 72 for Pima County and the highest concentration--12---
is in the Tanque Verde area where the home invasion happened.
Deputies nab suspect, 500 pounds of pot after chase
Posted: Mar 20, 2012 7:20 AM MST
Updated: Mar 21, 2012 5:35 AM MST
By Steve Stout - email
By Jose Miguel - bio | email
PHOENIX (CBS5) -
Maricopa County sheriff's deputies caught one of two suspects
involved in a high-speed chase on Interstate 10 near Dysart Road in
the West Valley on Tuesday morning, but what they found inside the
vehicle was more surprising.
Acting on a tip, deputies gave chase after spotting a gold Chevrolet
Tahoe that the suspects were driving near State Route 85 and I-10,
according to reports.
The chase led to Dysart Road just south of the interstate and the
suspects, who were believed to be armed, jumped from the vehicle,
Oscar Luna was caught trying to hide near a shopping center parking
lot. A second suspect ran across both sides of the I-10 heading north
into a field and is still on the loose.
Inside the Tahoe, the tip proved correct when deputies discovered 500
pounds of marijuana, a 9mm gun and a 50-round magazine.
"The fact that we found the 9mm gun in the truck is promising,
there's no evidence of any other ammunition and any other weapons, so
the subject's possibility of being dangerous, being armed and
dangerous is very small at this point," said Sgt. Brandon Jones with
The outstanding suspect was described as Hispanic, about 5'8" tall
and wearing a red shirt and blue jeans.
Search continues for man who fled after I-10 chase in West Valley
by Cassondra Strande, Mary Kate Lau, and Jose Zavala -
Mar. 21, 2012 11:40 AM
The Arizona Republic-12 News Breaking News Team
Authorities continue to look for a man who got away after a high-
speed chase on Interstate 10 Tuesday morning, according to the
Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.
Shortly after 7 a.m., two men in a gold Chevrolet Tahoe refused to
stop for deputies after a concerned citizen notified police the
vehicle might contain marijuana.
The chase started near Arizona 85 and Interstate 10, according to
Sgt. Brandon Jones of the Sheriff's Office. The chase continued onto
the I-10. Two people in the Tahoe jumped out of the vehicle near
Dysart Road after blowing a tire and took off on foot, Jones said.
Inside the Tahoe, deputies found 500 pounds of marijuana and a 9mm
semi-automatic handgun with a 50-round magazine, Jones said.
One of the men, Oscar Luna, 21, was taken into custody on suspicion
of drug running, and he told authorities he was in the country
illegally, according to the Sheriff's Office.
The Sheriff's Office along with Avondale and Goodyear police
departments searched for the second man for two hours, but did not
locate him. The Sheriff's Office is now following leads to attempt to
locate the second man.
Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/