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A federal appeals court said a lower court erred when it issued a verdict in writing instead of in person, denying José Maria Nuñez-Ramirez 'the fairness, integrity, and legitimacy of the judicial proceedings' in his trial on drug-smuggling charges.

A federal appeals court ruled that the rights of a drug-smuggling defendant - found in a remote section of the Arizona desert - were violated when a district court handed down his conviction in writing and not in open court, denying him an opportunity to appear. Read more»

A view of the U.S.-Mexico border on the Organ Pipe National Monument near Lukeville, Ariz.

A 36-year-old man pleaded guilty Thursday to bribing a Border Patrol agent, paying the federal law enforcement officer nearly $64,000 to pick up people near Lukeville and slip them past the agency's checkpoints in Southern Arizona. Read more»

A CBP officer uses a hammer to break the weld on a rail car at the Nogales port. Hidden behind the panel was 237 pounds of methamphetamine, worth $457,000.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in Nogales discovered more than 237 pounds of methamphetamine hidden in the structural beams of a railroad freight car on Sunday, officials said. Read more»

Customs and Border Protection officers after the January 2019 seizure of 650 pounds of fentanyl and methamphetamines in Nogales. Experts say an increase in the availability of such deadly drugs, combined with the isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic, led to historic levels of drug overdoses in the U.S. in 2020.

For too long, we've played politics with the public health threat of fentanyl. It's time we addressed it with science-based solutions and raised awareness that cuts through the political talking points. Read more»

Residents of Nogales awoke Thursday to a new and soon-to-be permanent presence in the sky above them: a tethered observation blimp meant to give the U.S. Border Patrol round-the-clock, ground-level surveillance capability in the local area. Read more»

Governor Doug Ducey give a State of the State Address at the El Conquistador Resort on Jan. 14, 2022.

Governor Ducey signed a $564 million border security bill - pushed through the GOP-dominated Legislature along party lines - that allocates $335 million in state sales tax revenue to build and maintain a wall along the state’s border with Mexico. Read more»

A woman driving near Gila Bend was arrested by U.S. Border Patrol agents after they discovered more than 120 lbs. of meth worth an estimated $181,000 in her minivan, authorities said. Read more»

A Border Patrol agent on a hill in 2018

Selene Marie Camacho was sentenced to four years in prison Thursday after she pleaded guilty in July 2021 telling the court she worked as a courier for a drug smuggling organization, retrieving drugs smuggled into the U.S. on foot. Read more»

Fentanyl pills found stashed in a bicycle frame by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers Friday in Nogales, Ariz.

Nogales U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized 9,000 fentanyl pills, worth an estimated $24,500 stuffed in the frame of a bicycle, authorities said. Read more»

Mechanics fixed trucks last week at the inspection station near the Pharr International Bridge.

Texas governor Greg Abbott ordered troopers to inspect every commercial truck coming from Mexico in an effort to stop illegal drugs and migrants - but troopers created a backlog and didn’t find any contraband as CBP already inspects commercial cargo. Read more»

A Phoenix-area man was arrested Monday after Customs and Border Protection officers found nearly $4.4 million in drugs — including 800 lbs. of meth, and more than 110 lbs. of fentanyl — at the border crossing in Lukeville, Ariz. Read more»

Robots used to search drug smuggling tunnels vary in size but are equipped with lights, a camera and the ability to retract their running gear to fit into narrow spaces.

Arizona accounts for more than 9% of drugs that cross the land border into the U.S. from Mexico each year, and technology does some of the dirty work of stemming the flow as Mexican cartels work to stay steps ahead of them. Read more»

Customs and Border Protection seized a 'record-breaking' amount of methamphetamine in a semi-trailer carrying auto parts.

Customs and Border Protection officers made the largest seizure of meth in the Tucson Field's Office's history Wednesday when they found nearly 3,300 pounds worth asbout $7.7 million stashed in a shipment of auto parts. Read more»

Increasingly, the drugs addicts seek are mixed with fentanyl or what they purchase is just fentanyl without any opioids in the mix.

The latest tally from the CDC shows that for the first time ever, the number of Americans who fatally overdosed over the course of a year surpassed 100,000 - a soaring death toll fueled by illicitly synthesized fentanyl that is increasingly replacing heroin. Read more»

Justice for Miroslava demonstration, Ciudad Juárez, March 23, 2019. Members of the journalist community stand in front of the Chihuahua state government offices to denounce the murder of Miroslava Breach Velducea two years earlier and call for justice.

Celeste Gonzalez de Bustamante and Jeannine Relly, journalism professors based at the University of Arizona, spent the last decade collecting dozens of oral histories from journalists working along the U.S.-Mexico border, and in Mexican states hit hard by drug violence. Read more»

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