August 5, 2009
U.S. Border Patrol agents disabled a vehicle operated by smugglers who had dismantled a portion of the international border fence Tuesday morning.
According to a news release, the smugglers abandoned the stolen truck along with nearly a million dollars worth of marijuana when agents used tire deflation devices to stop the vehicle.
The incident began at 1 a.m. when Wellton agents discovered tire tracks leading away from the border fence about 60 miles east of Yuma. Another agent spotted the truck shortly afterward using night vision equipment. The vehicle was traveling northbound along Papago Wells Road.
Agents were able to monitor the truck before safely deploying a tire deflation device near the intersection of Papago Wells and Heart Tank roads. Three tires were successfully deflated by agents, but the driver continued to drive for about two miles through the desert before he and a passenger ran into the mountain terrain.
Later, agents learned that the smugglers had cut through the heavy steel post fence in order to enter the United States.
The abandoned 2006 Ford pickup truck had been previously reported stolen to the Yuma County Sheriff's Office. When agents searched it, they found 1,194 pounds of marijuana in 40 bundles. The street value of the drugs was estimated at about $955,360 and was turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.