The Desert IndependentTM

Serving Blythe and the Desert Regions of the Southwest Since 2001


14 Significant Arrests and More than $670,000 in Drugs Seized

September 15, 2016

YUMA, Arizona – In the early morning hours of September 13, Yuma Station agents arrested Fortunato Lopez-Martinez, a 28-year-old Mexican national, for illegal entry. Lopez’s records revealed a prior conviction for attempted murder in Redwood City, Calif., in 2009, and served five years in jail before being deported.

Near Blythe, Calif., agents arrested a U.S. citizen and a pregnant woman with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status for allegedly transporting more than 13 pounds of methamphetamine with an estimated value of nearly $41,000. Later, a legal permanent resident and U.S. citizen were arrested during a traffic stop after agents discovered they were transporting 38 pounds of cocaine. The drugs had an estimated value of more than $430,000.

That evening, Yuma Station agents located a stolen vehicle near the upper Colorado River area. Soon after the stolen vehicle was recovered, another vehicle attempted to speed through the Wellton Station Border Patrol checkpoint on Interstate 8, east of Yuma, without stopping for an immigration inspection. Agents halted the vehicle without incident by spiking the tires with a controlled tire deflation device, and arrested three Mexican nationals travelling in the vehicle.

Later at the checkpoint, a legal permanent resident was referred to a secondary inspection after making conflicting statements to agents. A K-9 team alerted to the vehicle, and agents discovered and seized 65 pounds of methamphetamine hidden in a false compartment of the roof.  The drugs had an estimated value of nearly $200,000.

A third event at the checkpoint resulted in the arrest of four Mexican nationals illegally present in the U.S. and attempting to travel toward Phoenix.

An individual is presumed innocent unless and until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

All persons, drugs and vehicles are processed per Yuma Sector guidelines. Federal law allows agents to charge individuals by complaint, a method that allows the filing of charges for criminal activity without inferring guilt.

Yuma Sector Border Patrol agents effectively combat smuggling organizations attempting to illegally transport people and contraband through southwestern Arizona and California. Citizens can help the Border Patrol and U.S. Customs and Border Protection by calling 1-866-999-8727 toll-free to report suspicious activity. Callers can remain anonymous.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between official ports of entry. CBP strives to keep terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

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