Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Children used as decoys in 2 recent drug smuggling attempts


TUCSON - Two recent drug smuggling busts in Southern Arizona highlight what has become a disturbing trend, according to Customs and Border Protection: using children as decoys in drug smuggling vehicles.
Tuesday night, a K-9 team of Border Patrol agents working at the Interstate 19 Checkpoint alerted to a vehicle driven by a female United State citizen with her four children, ages 17, 9, 6 and 4, according to a news release from CBP. The vehicle was referred to a secondary inspection, and agents discovered eight bundles of marijuana concealed in the trunk. The bundles had a combined weight of 197 pounds and an estimated value of $98,500.

The vehicle, drugs and children were transported to the Nogales Border Patrol Station, and Child Protective Services took custody of the children.

On Monday, a 34-year-old U.S. citizen and mother of an 8-year-old child was attemping to smuggle 104 pounds of marijuana, worth $52,000, concealed in the vehicles trunk. The child was removed from the drug smuggling vehicle, CBP says."

"Agents working at Border Patrol checkpoints may see hundreds of faces every day and have only seconds to determine whether a person is involved in criminal activity," CBP officials say. "Smugglers try to exploit this challenge by using people they believe do not look like the usual suspects. Agents use technology and K-9 teams to counter this tactic to ensure all criminals are brought to justice and that children are taken out of harm's way."


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