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$706K in cocaine & marijuana seized at BP checkpoints

Border Patrol agents working at two checkpoints this week intercepted more than $706,400 in marijuana and cocaine, arrested three U.S. citizens, and seized three firearms, including an AR-15 rifle, said authorities. 

On Monday, Tucson Sector Border Patrol agents at the I-19 checkpoint found three adult men, identified only as Mexican nationals, in the trunk of a Hyundai Sonata. The driver was a U.S. citizen who now faces federal charges, said a spokesman for U.S. Border Patrol's Tucson Sector. 

On Tuesday, agents arrested the driver of a Chevrolet pick-up when a drug dog led agents to several packages of cocaine weighing more than 55 pounds, worth an estimated $630,000. 

Wednesday, agents from the Yuma Sector sent a Ford SUV to a secondary inspection point at the checkpoint near Blythe, California after a drug dog alerted to the presence of drugs. However, the driver fled the checkpoint reaching "excessive speeds while passing other motorists on the shoulder of the Interstate," said Richard Withers, a spokesman for Yuma Sector. 

Officers from La Paz County Sheriff's Office, the Quartzsite Police Department and Arizona Department of Transportation, assisted in the pursuit, which finally ended when the driver barreled into concrete barrier, throwing nearly 150 pounds of marijuana throughout the SUV's rear cabin. 

The driver, identified only as a U.S. citizen fled on foot, but was quickly captured by agents from the Blythe checkpoint, said Withers. 

Agents found 147 pounds of marijuana worth around $73,500 and a loaded handgun, said Withers. 

A second U.S. citizen also attempted to flee the checkpoint after agents sent him to the secondary inspection. As he fled, agents noticed he threw a suitcase out from his vehicle shortly before stopping, Withers said. Inside the suitcase was nearly five pounds of marijuana worth around $2,400. Agents also found an AR-15 next to the suitcase. 

Later that day, agents at the Blythe checkpoint arrested an unidentified man after an agent "detected a strong marijuana odor emitting from the vehicle." Agents found a safe in the back of the vehicle containing a loaded handgun, drug paraphernalia, and a pound of marijuana worth $500, Withers said. 

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Marijuana tossed around inside a Ford SUV after the driver crashed into a concrete vehicle barrier while attempting to flee from a Border Patrol checkpoint near Blythe, California.