April was a big month for drug smuggling arrests along the U.S.-Mexico border, according to reports from the U.S. Border Patrol and other agencies.
A joint operation between U.S. and Mexico officials led to the arrest of 465 people and the seizure of more than 12 tons of marijuana from April 17 through April 30, Brietbart News reported. The effort capped a two-week investigation spanning both borders.
It is just one of a string of investigations involving the U.S. Border Patrol and other officials from Mexico and the U.S.
“The bi-national operation shows how the integration of information and mirrored enforcement can further secure our borders,” stated a release from Tucson Sector Chief Paul Beeson. “Some of these drugs were seized in Mexico before they even had a chance to cross the border and further endanger our communities.”
In the past week alone, U.S. Border Patrol agents seized more than a million dollars worth of marijuana in a drug-smuggling operation along the U.S.–Mexico border in Arizona and California.
The following arrests were also made in the final days of April, according to Brietbart News.
In Southeast Arizona, Yuma Sector Border Patrol agents arrested 43 people who were in the country illegally and recovered nearly one ton of marijuana valued at more than $1 million. Agents near Yuma Sector also arrested 30 illegal aliens attempting to smuggle in about 1,400 pounds of marijuana.
Agents from the Wellton Station Border Patrol arrested 58 illegal aliens and seized more than 1,200 pounds of marijuana. The Welton station is located in a small town about 30 miles east of Yuma, Arizona.
In the Sonoran Desert, Border Patrol agents arrested seven illegal aliens with 235 pounds of marijuana. Agents also recovered 350 pounds of abandoned marijuana.
Smugglers from Mexico and other countries often use underground tunnels along the U.S.-Mexico border to bring both drugs and illegal immigrants into the country. The tunnels cause extensive and on-going problems for border patrol and law enforcement officials.
Border patrol agents are trying to make those operations go up in smoke.
In March, U.S. border agents uncovered a tunnel between Mexicali, Mexico and Calexico, California that was about 400-yards long, Business Insider reported.
U.S. Border Patrol agents and other federal officials say the tunnels are difficult to see and make it easier for smugglers to go undetected. The 2,000-mile border is “riddled with tunnels,” Business Insider reported.
And it has been going on for decades.
Some of the tunnels are just holes in the ground that spans short distances. Others are elaborate networks complete with air conditioning, electrical lighting, and electrical carts on a pulley that are used to transport drugs, according to Business Insider. The tunnels are also sometimes used for smuggling in illegal immigrants.
One of the largest and most sophisticated tunnels ever uncovered was one that began at a Tijuana warehouse and ended at a San Diego warehouse, according to a 2015 report by CNN. The tunnel was about as long as eight football fields and had lighting, electricity, and a rail system. Its walls were reinforced with metal beams.
Undercover agents worked for six months to test the system with dirt, eventually switching over to actual drugs, reported CNN.
Lucrative drug trading operations along the borders are typically controlled by violent cartels who have no problem killing a border patrol agent or anyone else who dares to interfere with the operation. But a report from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in 2015 showed that the influence of drug cartels extends well into the rest of the U.S., as far as New York and Chicago.
[Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images]