Tucson, Ariz. — The Arizona Border Strike Force, led by the Arizona Department of Public Safety in partnership with the United States Border Patrol’s Operation Stonegarden initiative, seized 224.9 pounds of methamphetamine and one pound of fentanyl during three successful operational deployments last week.
The first seizure occurred September 8th, on Interstate 10 in Pinal County, when a DPS Border Strike Force Trooper seized 52 pounds of methamphetamine and arrested Roberto Cervantes, 19, from Rio Rico, Arizona. The second seizure occurred September 12th, on Interstate 10 in Pima County, when a second Border Strike Force Trooper seized 122.9 pounds of methamphetamine and arrested Guillermo J. Parada, 24, from Phoenix, Arizona. The third seizure occurred on September 13th, on Interstate 8 in Yuma County when a third DPS Border Strike Force Trooper seized 50 pounds of methamphetamine and one pound of fentanyl (approximately 4,000 pills) and arrested Martin G. Bogarin, 18, from Yuma, Arizona.
Violations of Arizona traffic law led to the initial traffic stops in each incident, during which criminal indicators were observed by troopers leading to the successful searches and seizures of the dangerous drugs. The suspects involved in all three seizures were transported to the respective county jails and booked for possession of a dangerous drug for sale and transportation of a dangerous drug for sale.
The methamphetamine, estimated to yield more than one million doses, has an Arizona bulk pricing value of $720,000 and a street pricing value that could exceed $10 million after distribution and sale to the consumer. The fentanyl has an Arizona bulk pricing value of $25,000 and a street pricing value that could exceed $100,000. According to DPS crime lab personnel, the estimated potency of the seized fentanyl could potentially kill over 227,000 people.
"Arizona’s Border Strike Force works day and night to fight the everyday threat posed by drug cartels and human smugglers along our southern border. With just three traffic stops, Border Strike Force operations have stopped a significant amount of dangerous drugs from devastating more lives," said Governor Doug Ducey. "The great work of the Border Strike Force continues to protect Arizonans and make our communities safer."
Colonel Frank Milstead, AZDPS Director said, “Our Border Strike Force is dedicated to disrupting the flow of these extremely dangerous, deadly drugs and keeping them off, not only the streets in Arizona but across the nation. We understand the damage these drugs can cause, not only in a family, but also the community as a whole. We stand committed in our fight to combat these drugs which are plaguing our nation and destroying families.”
The ultimate goal in the creation of the Arizona Border Strike Force is to deter, disrupt and dismantle transnational criminal organizations that breach the border in their quest to conduct criminal activity in our state. Specific units within the Border Strike Force Bureau include the Canine District, the Southern Investigations District, and the Vehicle Theft District.