This is a collection of news about border issues, particularly those seen from Arizona and regarding the right to keep and bear arms. Sources often include Mexican media. It's often interesting to see how different the view is from the south.
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Thursday, July 18, 2013
AZMEX SPECIAL 17-7-13
AZMEX SPECIAL 17 JUL 2013
Note: Note especially important, but interesting numbers.
"When there's no other work, we maintain ourselves by doing this," he said as he waited for the auction to begin on Saturday.
Jimenez also heads up I-19 to auctions in Tucson, but because he doesn't have a license to bid in those auctions, he has to pay a broker, he said, which cuts into the approximately $500 profit he makes on each vehicle.
Silverio Gutierrez, 40, also of Nogales, Sonora, is a regular at these auctions, where he buys vehicles to sell or for personal use. On Saturday, he picked up a Dodge diesel pickup truck and a red all-terrain vehicle.
Oscar Noriega, a friend of Gutierrez and owner of an auto parts store in Nogales, Sonora, checks out the vehicles online before he heads to the auctions. He was waiting for a pickup truck to go up for bidding on Saturday, but if he finds anything he can sell for parts at his store, he said he'd snatch it up.
Juan Guerra, a resident of Nogales, Ariz, was in the market for a van for his family on Saturday morning. He has purchased two other vehicles at these auctions in the past and with each vehicle, he said he is consistently pulled over for secondary inspection when crossing the border. On Saturday, he outbid his competitors on a van, but will have to replace the seats, which were ripped out during the bust.
Bust to bonanza
After the vehicles are seized during a smuggling bust, they end up in one of two places.
If the U.S. Attorney's Office declines to prosecute the smuggling case, then the vehicles, following forfeiture proceedings, become the property of the County Attorney's Office, Serrano said.
If the U.S. Attorney's Office decides to prosecute the case, the vehicles are hauled to the Rod Robertson lot on Bodega Drive to await an auction.
Due to the fact that the vehicles, most of them with Arizona, Sonora, or California license plates, had been used for drug-smuggling, authorities tried to ensure that an auction customer wouldn't turn into an unwitting drug smuggler, including a final inspection by two K-9 units on Tuesday, July 9 to take one last sniff for drugs and contraband.
Neither Serrano nor John Zuniga, coordinator for the Nogales Police Department's K-9 units who did final inspections of the vehicles, reported ever finding drugs still hidden in vehicles up for auction.
Still, for Jimenez, the thorough inspections reassured him that buying the vehicles would not mean a trip to prison. "I like that they inspect the cars," he said. "I don't want to get busted with drugs when I cross."
In order for the vehicles bought at auction in Nogales, Ariz. to be legal in Mexico, Jimenez must pay a fee – recently raised from about $400 to $900 per car – and drive to a customs checkpoint located 21 kilometers south of Nogales, Sonora. Once there, he files the necessary paperwork and then returns to Nogales, Sonora.
In many cases, the drugs or contraband were hidden in false compartments built into the vehicle, Serrano said. However, the County Attorney's Office cannot legally sell any vehicles with false compartments, she said.
"We don't want to sell anybody a car with a false compartment because they will have problems crossing the border, with CBP," she said.
The "natural" compartments where contraband is found, such as inside fenders, are welded shut before they are taken to the auction lot, she said.
In addition to vehicles, the auction also featured items seized at stash houses, which includes "anything you can possibly think of," Serrano said. Furniture, home decorations, bicycles, clothes washers and dryers were stacked in piles in a separate area of the auction lot. While most of the seized items go up for auction, seized clothes are donated to the Nogales Crossroads Mission, she said.
An enormous stack of bags filled with charcoal was also up for sale, seized at a local port of entry with marijuana hidden among the bags, she said.
Here are some of the sale prices at Saturday's auction: