Special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) continue to investigate circumstances that led to the seizure of almost 400 pounds of methamphetamine, approximately 10 pounds of fentanyl powder, about 8 pounds of fentanyl pills (approximately 30,000 pills) and $55,041 in U.S. currency, resulting in the arrest four individuals in Phoenix, Arizona last Thursday.
On July 23, NATIVE High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) task force agents and United States Border Patrol Intelligence Agents identified a vehicle being used by alleged drug traffickers to smuggle hundreds of pounds of hard narcotics from Mexico into the United States. On July 30, the vehicle drove up a make-shift ramp over the United States border approximately 50 miles west of Lukeville Port-of-Entry between Ajo and Welton U.S. Border Patrol Stations. Federal agents conducted surveillance on the vehicle from the border to Phoenix. Upon arrival in Phoenix, agents observed the contents of the vehicle being loaded into a second vehicle. Agents quickly moved in to secure the scene and arrested Luis Rendon-Espinoza, Manual Delgado-Lopez, Miguel Daniel Luna and Felicitas Saenz charging them with various narcotics federal violations.“This significant seizure is a prime example of the importance of HSI partnering with federal agencies to leverage all capabilities and expertise to interdict and disrupt the flow of drugs into the U.S.” said Special Agent in Charge Scott Brown for HSI Arizona.
This is an HSI-led investigation conducted in partnership with the NATIVE task force. The NATIVE HIDTA initiative formed in August 2013 to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations operating within or through the Tohono O’odham Nation. The NATIVE task force is led by the Tohono O’odham Police Department (TOPD) and composed of special agents with HSI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Land Management Office of Law Enforcement and Security, Bureau of Indian Affairs Drug Enforcement Division, U.S. Border Patrol and Arizona HIDTA.