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$3M in marijuana seized by ICE, BP agents

Agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs and Border Patrol seized more than 3.5 tons of marijuana worth an estimated $3 million in a series of seizures in southeastern Arizona last week believed to be part of one massive smuggling attempt, authorities said. 

On June 23, Border Patrol agents in Naco came across a vehicle containing over 2,600 pounds of marijuana. Following a lead from that bust, special agents with ICE's Homeland Security Investigations discovered another 1,600 pounds of marijuana abandoned in a residence in Bisbee. 

Later in the day, Wilcox Border Patrol agents uncovered a third cache of 2,900 pounds of marijuana. 

Based on evidence gathered in the case, HSI special agents concluded that all three seizures were linked and stemmed from a single drug smuggling attempt, said ICE in a release. 

Additionally, three days later, Border Patrol agents rescued a person authorities believe was connected to the drug smuggling operation. Agents found the individual suffering from severe heat-related medical complications and he was transported by air ambulance to a nearby hospital, ICE said. Upon release, the individual will be handed over to HSI for further investigation. 

"This seizure is a prime example of Homeland Security agencies leveraging their capabilities and expertise to interdict and disrupt the flow of drugs into the United States," said Matt Allen, special agent in charge for HSI Arizona. 

"Collectively, Tuesday's enforcement actions resulted in the largest single-day seizure of marijuana in southeastern Arizona so far this fiscal year," the agency 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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ICE

Nearly 1,600 pounds of marijuana found abandoned in a residence in Bisbee, Ariz. part of three seizures made on June 23 by special agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.