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Vehicles Flee Checkpoint, Caught Later with Marijuana, Guns

October 20, 2016

BLYTHE, Calif – On Wednesday, October 18, Border Patrol agents working at a checkpoint seized more than $76,000 in marijuana and three weapons during separate incidents yesterday, two of which involved vehicle pursuits.

Canine teams alerted to two vehicles during separate primary inspections, resulting in the drivers being directed to a secondary inspection. In each case, instead of pulling over for the secondary inspection, the vehicles sped through the checkpoint.

One of the vehicles reached excessive speeds while passing other motorist on the shoulder of the Interstate. La Paz County Sheriff’s Office, the Quartzsite Police Department and Arizona Department of Transportation assisted in the pursuit that ended when the driver crashed into a concrete barrier. The driver, a male U.S. citizen, fled the scene on foot but was quickly captured by Blythe agents. Agents then searched the vehicle and found 147 pounds of marijuana, worth an estimated $73,500, and a loaded handgun.

During pursuit of the second vehicle, agents observed the male driver, also a U.S. citizen, throw a suitcase from one of the vehicle’s windows shortly before stopping. Agents took the driver into custody and recovered the suitcase, containing nearly 5 pounds of marijuana worth an estimated $2,400. Agents also recovered an AR-15 rifle found next to the suitcase.

A third incident at the checkpoint occurred after an agent detected a strong marijuana odor emitting from the vehicle and referred the driver for a secondary inspection. During the subsequent search, agents found a safe in the back of the vehicle containing a loaded handgun, several drug paraphernalia items, and a pound of marijuana worth about $500.

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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