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BP agents arrest 19 drug mules, seize nearly 1,500 lbs. of pot

Border Patrol agents arrested 19 men and seized 1,483 pounds of marijuana worth nearly $742,000 during two incidents over the weekend, authorities said.

Agents with the Ajo Border Patrol station were patrolling on foot Friday near Lukeville when they noticed footprints left by several people who had crossed the international border illegally, said U.S. Customs and Border Protection in a press release. 

Agents tracked the footprints and caught up with a group of 19 men, all carrying large bundles of marijuana on their backs. The agency estimated the total weight of the marijuana carried by the men at just over 920 pounds.

On Saturday, agents near Douglas watched several people cross the international border while carrying large bundles, the agency said were “commonly associated with drug traffickers.” As the agents closed in, the men tried to hide their packs near an abandoned ranch and ran.

However, agents searched the area and recovered the packs, containing a combined total of 563 pounds of marijuana, and a Marlin Model 783 .22-caliber rifle.

No arrests were made. 

Tucson Sector Chief Patrol Agent Manuel Padilla praised the effort, saying that Border Patrol agents have "helped promote a safer environment for those living in border communities."

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More than 920 pounds of marijuana carried by 19 men near Ajo who were arrested by Ajo Border Patrol agents on Friday.