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Technology

Tracking skills aided in pot bust

Ajo Copper News of Ajo, Arizona

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Technology has proven to be a valuable asset to Border Patrol operations, according to public affairs officials at Tucson Sector, but agents frequently must rely on age-old skills of sign cutting and tracking to accomplish their mission.

On Monday, March 8, agents assigned to the Ajo Station located footprints from a group of people crossing north over the international border, apparently illegally. Agents tracked the group for several hours, eventually locating many backpacks of marijuana. The backpackers themselves had left the area and were not apprehended.

The more than 1000 pounds of abandoned marijuana was taken to the Ajo Station for processing. It was valued at $850,000.

Since the beginning of fiscal year 2010, Tucson Sector has seized more than 460,000 pounds of marijuana, putting it on track to break last year's record of 1.2 million pounds.

Criminal aliens are another focus of USBP agents. Agents assigned to the Ajo Station apprehended a male on Saturday, March .6, who had been arrested for raping a child, assault, and child molestation. Criminal histories are uncovered with the use of the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System.

"Law enforcement tools such as IAFIS assist us in identifying criminal aliens in custody," said James Wainer, acting division chief for Tucson Sector. "It is important that we continue to identify the criminal element in order to provide the appropriate law enforcement resolution."

Last year the Border Patrol identified more than 40,000 illegal aliens with criminal backgrounds, according to officials.



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Original Publication Date: March 17, 2010



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