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Border Patrol activity: Woman caught with 1.9 lbs of meth at checkpoint

A 18-year-old U.S. woman arrested last Friday for possession of 1.9 pounds of methamphetamine was charged with narcotics smuggling.

Clarisa Aguilar was traveling in a commercial shuttle van that was stopped by Nogales Station agents at the Interstate 19 checkpoint.

"A Border Patrol detection canine alerted to the vehicle as it passed through the pre-primary inspection area," BP Agent Shelton McKenzie said in a news release. "Subsequent inspection resulted in the discovery of the narcotics."

The methamphetamine, which had an estimated value $21,850, was turned over to the Drug Enforcement Agency.

While marijuana is historically the narcotic most likely to be seized, agents also encounter meth, heroin and other illicit drugs, McKenzie said.

Aguilar now faces federal prosecution.

Tucson Sector agents also seized $682,500 worth of marijuana during four separate incidents Tuesday, three involving Ajo Station agents and one a Nogales Station canine team, according to a Customs and Border Protection news release.

Agents from the Ajo Station's Horse Patrol Unit discovered four bundles of marijuana (292 pounds, estimated value of $146,000) near Pia Oik and the station's All-Terrain Vehicle Unit found 249 pounds of abandoned marijuana (estimated value $124,500) southeast of the Lukeville Port of Entry.

Ajo Station's Field Training Unit also discovered six bundles of abandoned marijuana (268 pounds, estimated value $134,000) a little east of Gila Bend, said Border Patrol Agent Brent Cagen.

With assistance from assistance from the Office of Air and Marine, Nogales Station agents and a canine team discovered 11 abandoned bundles of marijuana (556 pounds, estimated value at $278,000). Cagen described the location as east of the DeConcini Port of Entry.

Meanwhile in Yuma Sector Blythe Station agents ended a week long I-10 operation on Wednesday. The temporary checkpoint led to 97 arrests for being "illegally present in the United States" and seizures of 10 firearms, drugs and $31,735 in cash.

"They have done a similar type of operation on interstate 10 in the past and it has yielded similar sized seizures for us in the past," said Agent Enrique Zarate.

Of the 9 handguns and 1 revolver, 4 had been reported as stolen, he said. The narcotics seizures, which had a total estimated value of $167,000, included 6 pounds of cocaine, 110 pounds of marijuana and one pound each of methamphetamine and heroin.

Also, Wellton Station agents conducted a checkpoint inspection on Interstate 8 near milepost 78 when a drug-sniffing dog alerted to the vehicle, a 2003 Chevrolet Avalanche on Wednesday.

They arrested a male U.S. citizen after discovering 15 kilograms of methamphetamine. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations now has custody of the driver, the vehicle and the methamphetamine.

TucsonSentinel.com's original reporting and curation of border and immigration news is generously supported in part by a grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Border Patrol agents arrested Clarisa Aguilar, 18, and seized this 1.9 pounds of methamphetamine (estimated value $21,850) during the inspection of a commercial shuttle van at the Interstate 19 checkpoint.