Wednesday, May 4, 2016



CG area Border Patrol agent almost run down by smuggler
Agent narrowly escaped injury
Posted: Wednesday, May 4, 2016 8:34 am
Staff Reports

CASA GRANDE – A Border Patrol agent narrowly escaped injury after a suspected smuggler made an alleged attempt to run him over at a checkpoint near Casa Grande, authorities said.

Agents working at the Federal Route 15 checkpoint Saturday south of Casa Grande encountered a Dodge pickup truck and referred the driver to a secondary inspection lane after a canine alerted to the vehicle. Instead, the driver ignored the instructions and accelerated directly at the agent, according to a press release.

The agent was able to deploy a spike strip while simultaneously evading the oncoming vehicle, successfully deflating two of the truck's tires. Unfazed, however, the driver continued to flee.
Agents pursued the vehicle for 30 miles on Federal Route 15 on the Tohono O'Odham Indian Nation until other agents deployed a second spike strip, which deflated the remaining two tires. With the truck inoperable, the driver then attempted to evade agents on foot but was immediately apprehended. A subsequent search of the truck uncovered two bales of marijuana, weighing nearly 56 pounds and worth approximately $27,800.

Agents later conducted a biometric records check that identified the driver as a U.S citizen on parole from the Arizona Department of Corrections. The subject is now in custody and faces charges relating to the drugs, assault and ensuing pursuit.

"The agent showed incredible fortitude, maintaining the presence of mind to deploy spike strips in an attempt to prevent the driver from inflicting harm to others," said Tucson Sector Chief Paul Beeson. "The agent's quick thinking and composure reinforces the importance of utilizing safe tactics and the necessity for our agents to remain vigilant at all times."

Recent statistics released by Customs and Border Protection show that Tucson Sector, which includes Pinal County, accounted for more than 20 percent of all assaults on agents recorded by the U.S. Border Patrol in 2015.


Human smuggling ring leaders sentenced to 10 years in prison
Navideh Forghani
5:58 PM, May 4, 2016
2 hours ago

DOUGLAS, AZ. - The two leaders of a Mexican human smuggling ring were sentenced in federal court on Wednesday.

The group is linked to smuggling hundreds of undocumented immigrants into Arizona from Central America.

Investigators said the extremely dangerous group would pack dozens of migrants into an SUV and actively try to run from law enforcement.

In 2009, investigators said they were responsible for a rollover crash in southern Arizona, in which 27 undocumented immigrants were crammed into an SUV. Ten of the people inside the vehicle were killed.

The head of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Douglas said these groups would constantly try to out run law enforcement.

"Sometimes that resulted in putting the public in danger, law enforcement and even the immigrants in danger. So, our ability to impact that and make the community safer is one of the things I'm most proud of having accomplished," said ASAC Carlos Archuleta, of the HSI Douglas office.

Fidel Mancinas-Franco and Juan Villela-Lopez both received approximately 10 years in prison.

HSI used its partnership with the U.S. Attorney's Office and Board Patrol to help get the smugglers off the streets.


Binational operation 'Relámpago Azul' leads to large busts in Mexico
Nogales International Updated 3 hrs ago (0)

Relámpago Azul
Mexican Public Safety Secretariat photo
This haul of $250,000 was confiscated as part Relámpago Azul.
Relámpago Azul
Mexican Public Safety Secretariat photo
Mexican federal police unload boxes from a truck during a bust made as part of the operation Relámpago Azul.

Around 9:30 pm. on Sunday, April 17, Mexican officials arrested a 63-year-old Mexican man for allegedly attempting to smuggle $250,000 through a checkpoint in Nogales, Sonora. Officers inspecting the man's Hyundai SUV with an Arizona license plate found 25 bundles wrapped in black tape stashed in the passenger's side running board, according to local media reports.

Later that week, Mexican federal authorities confiscated more than three-and-a-half tons of marijuana hidden in a tractor-trailer that was parked behind a maquiladora in the San Ramon industrial park. The pot, estimated to weigh more than 3,500 kilograms (7, 716 pounds), were found hidden between hospital equipment and stashed in 307 packages wrapped in tape.

Mexican authorities also inspected several homes and hotels in the Centro and Buenos Aires neighborhoods of Nogales, Sonora, hoping to crack down on human trafficking and organized crime. The searches led to several arrests.

The seizures and arrests were part of a binational operation known in Mexico as "Relámpago Azul," or "Blue Thunder." The two-week operation ran from April 17-30 and involved the Tucson Sector Border Patrol and U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Air and Marine Operations working in collaboration with several Mexican law enforcement agencies. The effort was called Operation Double Threat on the U.S. side of the border.

"The binational operation shows how the integration of information and mirrored enforcement can further secure our borders," CBP's Tucson Sector Chief Paul Beeson said in the news release. "Our ability to work in a coordinated fashion with our law enforcement partners in Mexico contributes to a safer border environment for us all."

The effort led to 467 arrests and the seizure of 25,000 pounds of marijuana valued at about $12.5 million, according to a news release issued by CBP on Wednesday.

Law enforcement also identified 11 stolen vehicles found in Mexico and seized nearly $16,400 worth of Mexican pesos.

On Friday, a convoy of Mexican federal police vehicles caused a stir when it crossed into the United States at the Mariposa Port of Entry. Sonoran media reported that the convoy was headed to a training session as part of Relámpago Azul, but a CBP spokeswoman declined to comment.


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