The Arizona District of the U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO) released the first quarter of 2023 immigration enforcement statistics for individuals prosecuted in partnership with the Tucson and Yuma Sectors of Border Patrol.
“Reducing migrant smuggling and mitigating the risk to communities impacted by these offenses continues to be a priority for the Office and its law enforcement partners. Some of these prosecutions are directed against leaders and coordinators of alien smuggling organizations. Other prosecutions are aimed at deterring young adult drivers, often recruited over social media platforms, from engaging in this dangerous activity,” the District shared.
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R) announced the indictment of a man recently arrested on drug trafficking-related charges.
“On May 11, 2022, law enforcement arrested [Jose Luis] Montoya Miranda on suspicion of trafficking illicit drugs. Law enforcement located approximately 140,000 fentanyl pills, over 11 pounds of fentanyl powder, 2.11 pounds of heroin, 2.9 pounds of methamphetamine, and a handgun. The charges are based on an investigation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA),” according to a statement by the attorney general’s office.
Monday, the Arizona Attorney General’s Office (AGO) released a press release stating the cartel recruits American Citizens, including teenagers, to smuggle undocumented immigrants into the country through social media.
“Ads on social media intercepted by law enforcement are now offering load drivers up to $2,000 for each passenger picked up at the border and driven north to a specified location. The lucrative deal is not only attracting people as young as 14 years old from the greater Phoenix area but also men and women of all ages and even drivers from out of state, who come to Arizona to cash in on the commute for the cartel. Nearly all of the drivers stopped are U.S. citizens,” according to a press release from the AGO.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Port of Lukeville arrested an Arizona man for attempting to smuggle approximately 1,000 pounds of methamphetamine and fentanyl across the Arizona-Mexico border.
According to a statement from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Phoenix man loaded 880 pounds of meth and 110 pounds of fentanyl in his Roadmaster RV; however, the drugs were detected by a narcotics canine.
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Air and Marine Operations crews operating P-3 aircraft from Texas and Florida participated in multi-agency counter narcotics operations that led to the seizure of 4.7 tons (9,475 pounds) of cocaine worth $179.2 million in a two-month timeframe, according to CBP.
Air and Marine Operations (AMO) agents operating along U.S. borders, coastlines and territorial waters are especially trained to combat maritime smuggling. They’re tasked with interdicting unlawful people and cargo approaching U.S. borders and investigating criminal networks, providing domain awareness in air and maritime environments and responding to a range of contingencies.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers apprehended more people in November than October and confiscated a record amount of drugs last month, according to its latest operational report.
In November at the southern border, encounters with unaccompanied minors increased by 9% from October, with family units by 5%, and with single adults also by 5%.
In one year, Customs and Border Protection agents encountered triple the number of people entering the U.S. illegally compared to the previous year. From October 2020 to September 2021, 1,734,686 people were encountered at the U.S. southern border.
From October 2019 to September 2020, that number was 458,088.
U.S. authorities criticized social media for an uptick in drug trafficking following a massive seizure of over a million fentanyl-laced pills and hundreds of drug dealer arrests.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced Monday that it, alongside various law enforcement partners, seized over 1.8 million fake pills laced with fentanyl and arrested over 800 alleged drug dealers over the course of a two-month drug bust beginning in August. Authorities have criticized social media companies that have failed to stop the sale of these illicit drugs on their platforms.
Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) announced on Friday that officers with the agency encountered 188,829 persons attempting entry along the U.S. southern border in June alone.
The staggering June numbers demonstrate a continued rise in attempted illegal border crossings — June’s total represented a five percent increase over May.