Interior Department Law Enforcement Seizes $2.3 Million in Illegal Drugs on Southern Border

Published April 10, 2019

WASHINGTON — From March 20, 2019 through March 28, 2019, the Department of the Interior (DOI) Opioid Reduction Task Force conducted a Criminal Interdiction Operation focusing on areas of highway known for high drug trafficking into and around Indian Country. The operation yielded an estimated $2.3 million in federally illegal drugs.

The operation occurred on the Tohono O’odham Reservation, located in Arizona on the Southern Border of the United States. The results of the Operation are below.

422 traffic Stops:

  • 14 traffic citations issued
  • 129 vehicle searches
  • 83 K-9 deployments
  • 40 K-9 alerts

50 Total Arrests:

  • 42 Federal Illegal Entry Arrests
  • 1 Tribal Failure to Appear Warrant (Tribal)
  • 1 Alcohol Related Arrest (Tribal)
  • 1 Assault and Battery Warrant Arrest (Tribal)
  • 1 Molestation w/minor (Federal)
  • 2 Dangerous Drug (State)
  • 1 Sexual Assault (Tribal)
  • 1 Weapons Trafficking (Federal)

Controlled substances seized (Total combined street value: $2.3 million):

  • 31.15 grams of Methamphetamine (approx .06 pounds)
  • 480,239.19 grams of Marijuana (approx. 1,058 pounds)
  • 0.2 grams of Heroin

The Opioid Reduction Task Force consists of Special Agents from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), Division of Drug Enforcement (DDE), BIA K-9 uniformed officers, the Tohono O’odham Police Department (TOPD), the Native American Targeted Investigations of Violent Enterprises (NATIVE) Task Force, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security of Investigations (HSI), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the National Parks Service (NPS), the United States Border Patrol (USBP) and Arizona Department of Public Safety (AZDPS).

The Joint Task Force on Opioid Reduction was formed in 2018. It is led by the Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of Justice Services in coordination with State, local, Tribal and other Federal partners. In the first year, Joint Task Force Operations in Arizona, New Mexico, North Carolina, Washington, Montana, and other states have led to the seizure of millions of dollars’ worth of fentanyl, heroin, methamphetamine and other drugs, and hundreds of arrests and indictments.

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