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BP uncovers cache of weapons near Ajo, 3 men arrested

Three men and a cache of semi-automatic rifles were intercepted by Border Patrol agents on Saturday afternoon southwest of Ajo, Ariz., authorities said. 

A spokesman for the Border Patrol's Tucson Sector said surveillance camera operators from the Ajo Station spotted two men carrying rifles about 17 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border, near the Growler Mountains — a series of rugged peaks just north of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, about 120 miles west of Tucson. 

Helicopter crews with Air and Marine Operations deployed from Yuma and Tucson, along with agents with the Border Patrol Search Trauma and Rescue team, to find the men, he said. 

Agents searched the area with the help of a dog, and found five semi-automatic AK-47-patterned rifles and a pistol, hidden under some brush, the spokesman said. 

They also found a man, identified only as an 18-year-old Mexican man, hiding nearby.

Agents took the man to the Ajo Station and continued searching until they found two more men. Both men were identified only as Mexican nationals, aged 43 and 24. 

All three men will be prosecuted for immigration violations and they were turned over to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives along with the seized assault weapons, the spokesman said. 

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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CBP

Five AK-47-patterned rifles and a pistol found hidden in the brush near the Growler Mountains, about 120 miles west of Tucson, on Saturday. Three Mexican men were arrested.